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
“We Need People to Start Turning Out in Force to Give Blood” FDA Urging People to Donate Blood as Coronavirus Fears Intensify
(Washington, DC – March 12, 2020) – “We need people to start turning out in force to give blood.” That urgent call-to-action coming from Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, as fear about the coronavirus is keeping people from wanting to donate blood. READ MORE
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.
Oklahoma Blood Institute Names Kim van Antwerpen Chief Operating Officer
October 16, 2019 – Oklahoma Blood Institute is proud to announce Kim van Antwerpen as its Chief Operating Officer, a new leadership position for the nation’s sixth largest non-profit blood collector.
Since 2004, Ms. van Antwerpen has served as Vice President of Technical Operations at Oklahoma Blood Institute. During her tenure, she has successfully managed a staff of more than 150 people, and delivered many critical projects including key implementations, upgrades, expansions, and remodeling projects.
“Kim’s leadership experience and expertise have been invaluable as our blood center grows to serve more patients and hospitals in communities throughout Oklahoma and the region,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “We would like to congratulate Kim on her new position as COO, and we know she will bring incredible proficiency as we continue to advance our operations.”
Ms. van Antwerpen has been instrumental in innovating new products, services, and programs– most recently, she was named the founding President of Testing Laboratory United, Inc., a nationwide joint blood center venture to perform blood donor screening. Additionally, she represents Oklahoma Blood Institute in numerous settings, such as ACTS (the Alliance of Community Transfusion Services), BCA (Blood Centers of America), and AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks).
Ms. van Antwerpen holds an MBA from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master’s in Computer Information Systems from the University of Phoenix. She earned a BS in Clinical Laboratory Science from the University of Oklahoma. She is a certified Medical Technologist and serves as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Business/MBA Program. Prior to joining Oklahoma Blood Institute, she worked in biotechnology leadership roles for Genzyme, Inc. and Organon Teknika Corp.
Her new role will expand her current manufacturing, testing, inventory and distribution responsibilities to encompass Donor Recruitment, Donor Collections, Donor Center Operations, and Volunteer Services.
Oklahoma Blood Institute employs more than 950 people and provides every drop of blood needed for patients in 165 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide, and also operates Arkansas Blood Institute, Texas Blood Institute, and Coffee Memorial Blood Center in Amarillo, Texas.
September 24, 2019 – Houchin Community Blood Bank in Bakersfield, California joins the Alliance for Community Transfusion Services (ACTS) – a group of independent blood centers committed to improving efficiency, operations, and opportunities to best serve donors and patients.
Houchin Community Blood Bank in Bakersfield, CA has joined eleven other independent blood centers in the Alliance for Community Transfusion Services (ACTS). ACTS was formed in 2010 to strengthen relationships between community blood programs and their local hospitals.
“We’re thrilled with the addition of Houchin Community Blood Bank to the ACTS Alliance,” said Nelson Hellwig, Chief Executive Officer of ACTS. “With a history of great community support, and now under Dr. Brad Bryan’s leadership, the organization has become strong, successful, and fully committed to their hospital partners. We look forward to working with Houchin as we continue to help our blood centers become stronger and more successful in the communities they serve.”
“I am very excited that Houchin Community Blood Bank is now a member of the ACTS Alliance,” said Dr. Bryan, Chief Executive Officer of Houchin. “As a member of ACTS, we now have the product volume and purchasing advantages of a large blood center, while still keeping the strong community focus that our local donors have always appreciated.”
About Houchin Community Blood Bank
Houchin Community Blood Bank first opened its doors in Bakersfield, California in April 1952. Since that time, Houchin Community Blood Bank has been the sole supplier of life saving blood to residents of Kern County and beyond.
About the Alliance for Community Transfusion Services
The Alliance for Community Transfusion Services (ACTS) is an alliance of independent blood centers that annually collect, process, and distribute more than 1.5 million blood products to over 750 healthcare facilities and provide various technical services, therapeutic treatments and cellular laboratory operations throughout the United States. Other ACTS members include Carter BloodCare (Dallas/Fort Worth, TX), Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (Hummelstown, PA), Coastal Bend Blood Center (Corpus Christi, TX), Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (Springfield, MO), LifeShare Blood Center (Shreveport, LA), Oklahoma Blood Institute (Oklahoma City, OK), Shepeard Community Blood Center (Augusta, GA), South Texas Blood and Tissue Center (San Antonio, TX), SunCoast Blood Bank (Sarasota, FL), The Community Blood Center (Appleton, WI) and We Are Blood (Austin, TX).
ACTS members collectively meet challenges of the business environment through shared resources, initiatives, and expertise. Through this unique collaboration, ACTS members enjoy the economic benefits typically associated with large centralized operations without sacrificing the qualitative benefits of independent, community blood banking.
Two Versiti Leaders to Receive President’s Award at
AABB Annual Meeting
Dr. Dan Waxman and Susan T. Johnson to be honored on Oct. 20
Milwaukee, Wis. ─ October 3, 2019 – Versiti, Inc., a national leader in blood health innovation, is proud to announce that two of its leaders have been selected to receive the President’s Award at the 2019 AABB Annual Meeting, Oct. 19-22 in San Antonio. This honor recognizes the extraordinary public service and contributions of an individual or an organization in the health care arena. The recipient’s work furthers AABB’s goals and missions.
Dan Waxman, M.D.,Versiti Vice President of Transfusion Medicine Blood Services and Senior Medical Director of Versiti Blood Center of Indiana, is being honored for more than three decades of service to AABB on a number of board and committee positions including Chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee. “I’ve been so fortunate to work with many dedicated members during my tenure with AABB and am grateful to receive this recognition,” said Waxman.
Sue Johnson, Versiti’s Director of Clinical Education and Director of the Specialist in Blood Banking (SBB) Program, is receiving the President’s Award for her long-time commitment and service to AABB and as an educator and champion of the SBB certification.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for being a voice of the unsung Medical Laboratory Scientists/Specialists in Blood Banking in the lab who play a critical role in ensuring patients receive the blood they need,” said Johnson.
On Sunday, Oct. 20, Johnson and Waxman will spotlight their expertise with presentations respectively on Wizardry School of Antigens and Antibodies and “How to Do More with Less? Enhancing Value and Quality of Care with Fewer Resources.” Six other Versiti team members will also present on topics that include managing cellular therapies and proficiency testing.
Versiti will be located at booth #340 where attendees can stop by for a “meet and greet” with speakers and pick up a pair of colorful Versiti-branded socks. For more information on the conference, visit Versiti.org.
As one of the largest blood providers in the country, Versiti is the primary supplier of blood products to more than 200 hospitals, providing more than one million blood products. Versiti’s seven diagnostic laboratories serve more than 3,400 customers, helping physicians nationwide to provide more customized patient treatment. As the home of the world-renowned Blood Research Institute, Versiti provides a broad range of biomedical research opportunities in cutting-edge facilities designed for basic, translational and clinical research.
Versiti, a national leader in blood health innovation, was formed with the mission to improve the health of patients and enable the success of our healthcare partners nationally. We provide innovative, value added solutions in the fields of transfusion medicine, transplantation, and blood-related diseases to meet the needs of each of our customers. The collective efforts across Versiti result in improved patient outcomes, expanded access to care, and cost efficiencies for healthcare systems nationwide. For more information, visit versiti.org.
The Blood Centers of America (BCA) and Covance announce the renewal of their agreement to work together to advance the development of precision medicines. As part of the agreement, the companies will collaborate to provide sponsors easier access to development solutions, including access to research- and clinical-grade products and manufacturing. >>READ MORE
The Community Blood Center Expands to South Side of Chicago
The Community Blood Center announces partnership with
Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Network
Appleton, Wis. (Aug. 1, 2019) – The Community Blood Center (CBC), a local non-profit organization supplying life-saving blood and platelets to hospitals in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (U.P.), announced today a partnership with Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network located in Chicago.
Gift of Hope has acquired a new community training center, located on the South Side of Chicago. As part of the development of this new location, CBC will open and operate a blood donation center within the community training center.
The expansion into Chicago creates a benefit for the local communities CBC already serves. By collecting blood and blood products in one of the most diverse cities in the nation, CBC will build capacities and increase competencies necessary to meet the healthcare needs and unique medical conditions of the growing diverse community. This advancement, including enhanced product-to-patient blood matching, will benefit all communities CBC serves, including Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and now Chicago.
The more closely someone is linked in their genes through a common ancestry, the more likely it is to find a blood transfusion match. Diversification of blood donors can help save the lives of those with sickle cell disease, for example, a disorder that requires frequent blood transfusions and impacts African Americans and Hispanics more than Caucasians. Therefore, the more blood donations collected from a diverse population, the more likely CBC will be equipped to provide the best care possible to patients with sickle cell disease.
“Both Gift of Hope and CBC are focused on the gift of life and how the selfless act of blood, platelet, bone marrow, organ and tissue donations can save the lives of those in our communities,” said John Hagins, CEO and President, The Community Blood Center. “The potential impact of this partnership for the Chicagoland area is exciting.”
The blood donation center in Chicago will be CBC’s fifth donation center in the Midwest. CBC will also collect blood through mobile blood drives in the Chicago community.
The Community Blood Center is expected to begin collecting blood in Chicago in 2020.
The Community Blood Center was established in 1955 and continues today as an independent nonprofit providing a safe and reliable blood supply to hospitals in Northeast Wisconsin, the Northwoods and upper Michigan. CBC has donor centers in Appleton, Oshkosh, Little Chute and Woodruff, and hosts over 100 blood drives every month. For more information on blood donation or hosting a blood drive, please visit communityblood.org or call 800-280-4102.