Sickle cell disease (SCD) affects up to 100,000 Americans. You can help improve the lives of patients facing this disease. What is Sickle Cell Disease? It is one of the most commonly inherited blood disorders. In the United States, most people with SCD are African-American. In fact, about one in every 365 African-American children is…
The landscape of blood donation, collection, testing, and distribution has changed dramatically. Blood Science Foundation has worked with the Central Blood Bank, LifeSource, Virginia Blood Services and ITxM’s other subsidiaries to ensure these changes do not disrupt the life-saving services they provide. But the current model alone can no longer sustain ITxM’s vital work, nor the level of investment in community outreach, education, innovative programs, and groundbreaking research that Pittsburgh — and its tri-state service areas including parts of West Virginia and Ohio — Chicagoland, and Virginia need and deserve.
Community Outreach and Education
Blood Science Foundation provides support to ensure a safe and ample supply of blood for the areas served. Blood Science Foundation educates our communities on the importance of donating blood and how a charitable contribution can help us to meet our goals.
The Blood Science Foundation has also provided grant funding for the training of future physicians in the field of transfusion medicine and blood management related positions. As stated by Dr. Gorham:
“UVA Health System is a large academic medical center serving a wide range of patients, including many patients that are critically ill and have complex health needs. Because of our diverse group of patients, ensuring the safest and most appropriate utilization of blood and blood components requires diligence and careful work.”
We were recently awarded a generous grant from the Blood Science Foundation to launch a Patient Blood Management (PBM) initiative, beginning with filling the newly created position of Transfusion Safety Officer (TSO).
“The TSO is the linchpin of a comprehensive PBM program, ensuring that best practices in transfusion medicine are being followed for every patient. I am extremely grateful to the BSF on behalf of our patients, who are the biggest beneficiaries of this award.”
Dr. James Gorham
Chief, Division of Laboratory Medicine
Medical Director, Blood Bank, and Transfusion Medicine Services
Professor, Department of Pathology,
University of Virginia Health System
Blood Donor Experience and Patient Care
It is our goal to enhance the blood donor experience, to make it more convenient for a blood donor to give blood. We also hope to expand the health screenings already performed, enhance the use of technology and upgrade other aspects of the blood donation process/experience.
Not only does ITxM provide patient care through its Diagnostics and Hemophilia Center of western Pennsylvania subsidiaries, it also supports the care delivered by its hospital customers through blood management and providing a safe and ample blood supply.
Through our advocacy of patients whose lives have been saved by donated blood, we hope that potential blood donors will be compelled to donate on a more frequent basis.
One blood donation can save up to 3 lives!
At just 3 months old, Kyrie was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy — a rare disease that affects just 1 in every 100,000 children in the United States. Kyrie’s left ventricle was pumping faster than his right, causing the left side of his heart to enlarge and threaten his life. After a terrifying hospital stay where Kyrie’s mother, Montanna, had to watch her son go into cardiac arrest — resuscitated only by 10 minutes of CPR — it became clear that a heart transplant was their best option. But in order to undergo this intensive surgery, Kyrie wouldn’t just need an organ donor — he’d also need numerous blood transfusions.
“Blood transfusion is necessary for graft and organ survival,” says Transplant Nurse Coordinator Heidi Flanagan. “It’s critical to have a strong supply of all blood types ready for any surgery — but particularly for transplants. We never know when we’re going to have an organ made available for someone like Kyrie who’s been waiting, and whose life depends on a new heart.”
After Kyrie’s transplant surgery, Montanna was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. “I watched Kyrie perk all the way up after his transfusions…he was so pale and lethargic and it just all went away.” Today Kyrie is a thriving toddler, and Montanna is a devoted blood and organ donor. “I would encourage anybody and everybody to give blood. If it wasn’t for organ and blood donations, Kyrie wouldn’t be here. I cherish every moment of his life, and I’m so thankful for the 6 blood donors who got us here today.”
Through patient-centered partnerships with major Universities in the communities we serve, the Blood Science Foundation creates opportunities for new and more effective treatments for blood disorders by donating $20 million to blood science research over the last 10 years, including:
- the quality of stored red blood cells
- reduction of drug dosages by labeling red blood cells (reduction in dosages leads to a reduction in negative side effects)
- lung complications from sickle cell anemia
- cord blood stem cells used to repopulate the bone marrow
“Generous support for translational research from ITxM and HCWP has propelled the University of Pittsburgh’s Vascular Medicine Institute to a leading position in blood transfusion and blood diseases research.Our research programs are developing new approaches to improve the safety of blood transfusions, specifically by identifying the genetics of red blood cell donors in an effort to identify normal common genetic variations that make blood safer and more effective after storage and transfusion.
We hope to identify donors whose blood should be used earlier or who are super donors whose blood may be stable longer in cold storage.”
“Red blood cell transfusions are a cornerstone of therapy for patients with sickle cell disease. UIC provides care for a large number of patients with sickle cell disease in Chicago. The grant from BSF is allowing important research that will have a high impact for these patients.”
The Blood Science Foundation has been a long-time supporter of Dr. Alan Russell’s research program. Dr. Triulzi, Medical Director of the Institute for Transfusion Medicine and advisor to BSF, stated: “Dr. Russell is a top notch scientist and innovator looking for disruptive technologies in the healthcare arena. His research using red cells as a vehicle for biologics was a natural fit for BSF.”
“The Blood Science Foundation understood that finding the future for polymer-enhanced blood products would be a long-term journey that required focused support. They brought so much more than funding to the program. Their expertise guided our work and the funding accelerated the pace at which it would benefit society.”