Looking back at AABB: What impressed us

October 28, 2019

With AABB come and gone, members of the organization who attended the conference reflected on their favorite sights and moments at AABB 19. This was the first time the AABB annual meeting was in San Antonio since 2001. 

Here are what they considered the coolest things they saw: 

Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President, Global Quality, BBG: 

“The cool thing I saw was diversity. Members from around the world converged to learn, collaborate, celebrate and address challenges. Young blood, cell therapy and clinical professionals were in strong representation. Many Spanish-language sessions were provided, and a number of speakers were from Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was the most diverse group I’ve seen. Bodes well for the future of the AABB.” 

Promise Trevino, Corporate Account Executive, QualTex: 

“I thought it was cool to see AATB attendees coming to AABB to explore new business opportunities.  With living donor programs increasing in AATB, I see more companies reaching out to cellular therapy-based and cord blood bank organizations, as tissue engineering and needs for specific cells increases.” 

Sophie Bardy, Vice President, Marketing, BBG: 

“The TED talk at the Abbott booth!” 

James Randle, Director, Donor Services, STBTC: 

“The all-electric bloodmobile: no generators, no engine, no smell and less environmental impact.” 

Tiffany Wafford, Supervisor, IRL, QualTex: 

“I attended a session called ‘Blood Bank Mythbusters.’ One thing that stood out to me during this presentation was the rationale for giving Rh-positive blood to Rh-negative women of childbearing potential in emergency/trauma situations (i.e., giving O-positive whole blood like STBTC provides). Calculating how many people survive hemorrhage (76%), how many hospitalized people make anti-D (21%), how many women have children (86%), probability of baby being D positive (60%), and risk of fetal death due to Anti-D (4%), the calculated risk of a potential mother affecting her potential child is about 0.3%.  

“I attended another session about red blood cell storage, and they talked about the different storage lesions in packed cells. There is evidence that blood stored for more than 2 weeks has increased mortality. It was interesting to learn that they found blood stored at 2°C has far less storage lesion than blood stored at 4°C or 6°C, which produces better outcomes in patients. The speakers also stated that blood stored in a hypoxic state is superior to regularly stored blood.” 

Dr. Samantha Gomez Ngamsuntikul, Associate Medical Director, STBTC: 

“The BBG poster representation and how awesome the Brothers in Arms program is in comparison to programs from larger collection centers. The dedicated BIA donor program is so unique.” 

Lorena Aranda, Director, IRL, QualTex: 

“I was able to engage and create new networking opportunities with the leaders of immunohematology. However, I was impressed with OneBlood’s presentation on how they were able to get the media and many blood centers help to find a very much needed rare unit (Inb negative) for a child.” 

Belinda Flores, Corporate Account Executive, STBTC: 

“The several hallway conversations about prehospital Transfusion of low titer O whole blood and the great response Dr. Winckler received at his presentation.” 

Elizabeth Waltman, COO, STBTC: 

“It was great to see the level of interest in low titer O whole blood. The THOR meeting was full, and several of the other LTOWB sessions were very well attended. Lots of great information shared from around the world.” 

Jessica Raley, Director, CATS, GenCure: 

“I attended a talk on natural killer cells that was super inspiring and indicated that we’re headed in the right direction using peripheral and cord blood as a source to isolate specific white cells that are programmed to fight cancer cells.” 

Samir Lakhashe, Scientist, CTRL, QualTex: 

“The coolest thing that I saw was the presentation by Dr. Katy Rezvani from MD Anderson Cancer Center. She talked about the use of cord blood-derived & CAR engineered NK cells in controlling cancer/lymphoma. Unlike T cells, NK cells can be used off-the-shelf which is a huge benefit and sounds like an upcoming biomanufacturing opportunity. Her data was quite amazing!” 

Rogelio Zamilpa, Senior Director, Cord Blood, GenCure: 

“I second Samir’s response. The cord blood CAR-NK is going to be a great allogeneic therapeutic option for treatment of liquid and solid tumors.” 

Scott Jones, Vice President, Scientific Affairs, BBG: 

“I third the comments made by Samir & Rogelio in regard to using off-the shelf CAR-NK cells for the treatment of cancers. It could be a great biomanufacturing opportunity and looks like a better treatment option than CAR-T cells in a lot of cases. 

“I was also intrigued by Dr. Jose Cancelas’ talk about using adoptive cell therapy with virus-specific T cells to treat immunocompromised patients with CMV & EBV infections. They get protection in 70-90% of recipients. We could generate these possibly for studies and treatments.  

“Lastly the use of artificial intelligence (AI) at blood centers to continuously monitor blood unit levels and then initiate donor notifications to target specific donor types to keep the blood supply constant. I was intrigued about using AI to create models of systems like testing or quality processes. You could test these processes and testing algorithms before actually implementing them so you can optimize them before implementation. That would be a powerful tool to be able to do a pre-validation using a computer model before you even implement the process. Imagine the reduction in quality incidences and possible monetary savings.” 

Maria Wyatt, Associate Corporate Accounts Executive, QualTex:  

“The 2019 Lamborghini Aventador S!” 


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