Oklahoma Blood Institute Receives $50,000 Grant from Presbyterian Health Foundation to Purchase Flow Cytometer
to Advance Research Projects
OBI Advancing Cell Therapies to Help Fight Cancer
January 13, 2021 (OKLAHOMA CITY) – Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) has received a generous $50,000 grant from Presbyterian Health Foundation to purchase sophisticated equipment to advance research into cell-based therapy for cancer patients.
With the granted funds, OBI will purchase the Attune NxT Acoustic Focusing Cytometer from ThermoFisher Scientific, which will be used to identify donors with certain types of cells needed for new cellular therapies.
“Oklahoma Blood Institute is more than just a community blood bank, they are a recognized biotech innovator,” said PHF President and Chair, Tom R. Gray, III. “We are proud to support the work of OBI in securing state-of-the-art technology, ultimately giving Oklahomans who are fighting cancer a better chance of survival.”
Through pilot experiments, Dr. Jennifer Chain, Ph.D. – scientific director of Oklahoma Blood Institute’s Research and Development Laboratory – identified a unique subset of cancer-fighting cells in the blood of certain blood donors. With the Attune Nxt instrument, she will identify blood donors who carry these specialized cells and decipher the detailed characteristics needed to harness their cancer-fighting properties.
As the largest bio-tech firm in the Oklahoma City metro, Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) works closely with scientists in developing cutting-edge treatments– connecting blood donors and blood products directly to the research and development of cellular therapies. OBI has become a national leader among community blood centers in promoting the development of regenerative medicine and new treatments for cancer.
“Presbyterian Health Foundation remains steadfastly committed to funding medical research initiatives with the end-goal of improving patient care,” said PHF Grants and Programs Officer, April Stuart. “We are excited to follow Dr. Chain’s discoveries as she utilizes this new tool in her laboratory at OBI.”
The Attune NxT works up to ten times faster than other technologies currently available. Its acoustic focusing and clog-prevention technologies enable the analysis and counting of rare cells in the blood, while maintaining high-quality data collection.
“Adding the Attune NxT advances our ability to analyze how certain blood cells grow and fight tumor cells, using two lasers to detect up to seven different fluorescent dyes,” said Dr. Chain. “Additional lasers can be added to the instrument in the future, which will only increase our potential for more advanced cellular research.”
The instrument will also be used to analyze stem cells that can be programmed to grow new tissue and heal wounds. Dr. Chain’s research into mesenchymal stromal cells – a population of stem cells found in bone marrow – will be advanced through the use of this sophisticated instrument.
“Presbyterian Health Foundation’s support will give patients the opportunity to receive revolutionary cellular therapies,” said Charles Mooney, vice president of Quality Management and New Business Ventures at Oklahoma Blood Institute. “As cellular therapies change and grow, OBI is grateful that grants such as this allow us to further harness the giving spirit of our blood donors and play an essential role in the rapidly advancing fight against cancer.”
Oklahoma Blood Institute is the 6th-largest independent blood center in the nation, providing more than 90% of Oklahoma’s blood supply to over 160 hospitals and medical facilities. For more information, visit obi.org.
Presbyterian Health Foundation (PHF) is an Oklahoma City based private foundation that provides grants to accelerate the journey of scientific discovery from ideas to innovations that save and enhance life. Since 1985, PHF has awarded over $170 million to biotechnology and medical research organizations in Oklahoma with an emphasis on the Oklahoma Health Center. For more information, please visit phfokc.com.
(San Antonio, TX – Sept. 17, 2020) Community Labs, a new nonprofit organization, has launched an innovative laboratory in San Antonio, changing how traditional COVID-19 testing is currently conducted by advances in speed, capacity, accuracy and price, along with a less invasive testing process. Inspired by the work of Scientists to Stop COVID-19 and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Community Labs will start with a capacity of 600 tests a day, scale to 10,000-12,000 tests a day, and have the potential to scale significantly in the near future. READ MORE
LifeShare Blood Center has received FDA Licensure approval for Apheresis Platelets stored in InterSol Platelet Additive Solution (PAS). This approval expands LifeShare’s ability to distribute apheresis platelets containing PAS outside the state of Louisiana. Read More
Gov. Stitt recently made a plasma donation at the Oklahoma Blood Institute donor center in Enid.
“One donation can provide lifesaving plasma for up to four people,” said Gov. Stitt. “Donating convalescent plasma is the easiest way Oklahomans who have recovered from COVID-19 can help their friends and neighbors and I urge everyone to make an appointment and join the fight.”READ MORE
Premier Health First in the Nation to Treat COVID-19 Positive Patient Using Mayo Clinic Protocols
DAYTON, Ohio (April 9, 2020) – Local residents who have recovered from COVID-19 now have a unique opportunity to contribute to efforts to defeat the virus through the Community Blood Center’s new COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Program, which launches on Friday. READ MORE
Alamodome to host three-day blood drive to maintain local blood supply, avoid public health emergency
Venue allows for proper social distancing; all donors will be required to make appointments to manage flow and avoid crowding
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center has teamed up with the City of San Antonio to hold a special community blood drive at the Alamodome this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
The Alamodome was selected because it allows for the recommended social distancing between donor beds and in waiting areas.
The drive – and starting this week, donations at all South Texas Blood & Tissue Center donor rooms – are by appointment only to manage flow and avoid crowding. Donors can make an appointment at SouthTexasBood.org/give-now or by calling 210-731-5590.
All donors will receive either a Valero or a Target gift card, plus another of their choice from the new STBTC Donor Store. Selections include GrubHub, Hulu and Amazon.com.
On Saturday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg designated blood donation as an “essential city function.”
With virtually all blood drives canceled because of fears of the new coronavirus, it is imperative that individual donors make an appointment and give at the Alamodome or at one of the STBTC donor rooms. Donor room locations and hours are listed at SouthTexasBloog.org/give-now/locations-hours.
In a time of great uncertainty, one thing is certain – the need for blood donations never slows down. An additional 600 donations per day are needed, as transfusions still are necessary for surgery patients, accident victims, new moms and their babies, and cancer patients. The need is especially acute for new donors and those with type-O blood.
As the supply of blood shrinks, hospitals across South Texas already have begun to postpone elective surgeries.
The mayor noted that blood donation is a safe action people can take at a time when many feel powerless.
Free parking for the drive will be available in Lot A, which is just south of the Alamodome. Donors can enter via the University Heath System entrance at the southwest corner of the dome, and there will be a greeter there to direct them.
In addition to social distancing, STBTC, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global, is taking numerous precautions to keep donors safe, including taking the temperature of potential donors and staff members as they enter donor rooms and the Alamodome drive. All donors undergo a mini physical, which includes a temperature, pulse and blood pressure check, and they are asked about recent travel to areas of community incidences of COVID-19.
Coronavirus concerns have led to declines in blood donations that have resulted in a national emergency. Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and the U.S. Military Defense Agency made an urgent appeal for the public to donate blood.
Dr. Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, reiterated that there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus and the virus poses no known risk to patients receiving blood.
About the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center: The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) is a nonprofit community blood center that provides blood, plasma, platelets and other blood components to 100 hospitals in 48 South Texas counties. It is the largest blood supplier in our region. STBTC has a 45-year history serving the South Texas community. It is part of the BioBridge Global family of nonprofit organizations, which offers services in regenerative medicine and research including blood banking and resource management; cellular therapy; umbilical cord blood collection and storage; donated human tissue recovery and distribution for transplant; and testing of blood and plasma products to help patients in the United States and worldwide. STBTC has seven donor rooms in South Texas and conducts hundreds of mobile blood drives each year. STBTC is online at SouthTexasBlood.org
MTEC selects BioBridge Global as recipient of Prototype of the Year Award
Recognition due to advancing large-scale manufacturing capabilities for clinical-grade adult stem cells for research and new therapies
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – BioBridge Global has been named one of two Prototype of the Year Award winners by the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) for work done following a $7.8 million MTEC grant for the development of large-scale manufacturing capabilities for clinical-grade adult stem cells.
The award was presented at the MTEC Annual Meeting on March 4.
“This award recognizes flawless execution – on-time or ahead of schedule and on-budget for all milestones,” said Becky Cap, Chief Operating Officer of GenCure. “Getting to this point with four collaborators is a huge acknowledgement of excellence both for our execution teams and the supporting groups who worked through billing and reporting requirements.”
The work led to the development of new capabilities and services at the GenCure biomanufacturing facility, which will provide stem cells for research and eventually for new therapies. The facility is scheduled to open later this month at the Merchants Ice complex east of downtown San Antonio.
“The MTEC grant funded not just the development of new capabilities – it launched a whole line of services that will support the development of new therapies for wounded warriors and civilian patients,” Cap said.
As research on potential cell therapies grows, access to large volumes of consistent cell material for testing in clinical trials addresses a critical need to move potential new therapies from early phase to late phase clinical trials and commercialization.
The goals of the three-year collaboration were moving hMSC production into an 80L stir-tank bioreactor format offered by PBS and identifying critical assays for product use by therapeutic development companies.
Achieving scale while maintaining critical quality attributes is critical to developing cost-effective products and related services for use in regenerative medicine, Cap said. GenCure and its sister subsidiary QualTex Laboratories were responsible for moving these developed capabilities to GMP-readiness. GenCure now offers manufacturing services to therapeutic developers moving into clinic under an IND, while QualTex offers a robust menu of testing services.
MTEC is a nonprofit corporation created by the U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Materiel Command to collaborate with companies, universities, foundations and other entities to develop medical technology solutions through flexible and innovative business practices.
About BioBridge Global: BioBridge Global (BBG) is a San Antonio, Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that offers diverse services through its subsidiaries – the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, QualTex Laboratories, GenCure and The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation. BBG provides products and services in blood resource management, cellular therapy, donated umbilical cord blood and human tissue as well as testing of blood, plasma and tissue products for clients in the United States and worldwide. BBG is committed to saving and enhancing lives through the healing power of human cells and tissue. It enables advances in the field of regenerative medicine by providing access to human cells and tissue, testing services and biomanufacturing and clinical trials support. Learn more at BioBridgeGlobal.org.