Industry Support Grows for Memorial Blood Centers' Blood Donor Safety Research Study

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Memorial Blood Centers, a national leader in transfusion medicine, today announced the receipt of a second round of funding—$20,000—from The Foundation for America's Blood Centers (FABC) that will help further research into blood donor safety. The two-year Iron Depletion and Replacement in Donors Study is being conducted jointly with the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC) of Davenport, Iowa and spearheaded by Dr. Jed Gorlin, MBC Medical Director and Dr. Louis Katz, Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs at MVRBC.

The FABC's initial $50,000 grant, awarded in early 2012, supported the research team in designing study protocols, donor recruitment consent forms and screening questionnaires, and training for collections staff. "Thanks to the generosity of the FABC, we've had the financial support we needed to prepare the clinical trial laboratory to receive and process test samples, and to hire and train two Registered Nurses to serve as Study Coordinators," Dr. Jed Gorlin said. "We also applied for and obtained institutional review board (IRB) approval to move forward with implementation. And in December 2012, we began recruitment and participant education activities, with the ultimate goal of recruiting a total of two thousand blood donors, 18-years and older, to participate in the study."

Across the country, a low hemoglobin level is the most common medical reason why potential blood donors are deferred from making a donation. While previous studies have evaluated the efficacy of iron replacement in blood donors who are deferred because of low hemoglobin, the Iron Depletion and Replacement in Donors Study includes testing of ferritin—a measure of iron stores—and also offers iron replacement to donors who qualify for donation but may be at risk of iron deficiency. As part of the study, participant data is being compared to data collected under current testing protocols to determine if education and iron replacement result in decreased rates of subsequent donor deferral—the overarching goal of the study.  

In addition to funding from the FABC, the Iron Depletion and Replacement in Donors Study also has received valuable in-kind support from two other industry leaders:

CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) has provided a 100-day supply of Ferrous Gluconate iron supplements for each of the 2,000 study participants. 

Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, has provided coverage of a service contract on the Ortho ECI testing machine being used throughout the duration of the study and also has contributed a majority of the donor testing supplies.  

"We are extremely grateful to all of our industry partners that have rallied in support of this important study," Dr. Gorlin added. "It is our intent that the results of the Iron Depletion and Replacement in Donors Study will establish a nationally scalable program that can be implemented by all other members of America's Blood Centers. Every blood center across the country will hopefully benefit from our findings and use this new information to improve blood donor safety, decrease the number of deferred donors, and ensure that we continue to maintain a healthy and robust donor base, and continue to help save lives through blood donation."

About Memorial Blood Centers
Memorial Blood Centers has been helping to save lives for 65 years as an independent nonprofit supplying life-saving blood to area hospitals and other partners throughout the U.S., and providing comprehensive testing and expert technical services as a national leader in transfusion medicine. www.MBC.org

About Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center
Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC), founded in the mid-1970s, serves more than 80 hospital partners throughout Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri, operates 19 donor centers, and hosts 4,000 mobile blood drives annually. www.bloodcenter.org

About The Foundation for America's Blood Centers
The Foundation for America's Blood Centers (FABC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, works in partnership with members of America's Blood Centers to fund initiatives that improve the availability, quality, and safety of blood and related products—all to save, extend, or enhance the lives of patients. www.thefabc.org

About CVS/pharmacy
CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the U.S. with integrated offerings across the entire spectrum of pharmacy care: mail order pharmacy, retail pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, and retail medical clinics, and a leading provider of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. www.cvscaremark.com

About Ortho Clinical Diagnostics
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics (OCD) is part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Device and Diagnostic Companies. A fully integrated, global business comprised of instruments and tests for transfusion medicine and clinical laboratories, biomarkers and cellular therapies, and lean consulting services. www.orthoclinical.com

SOURCE Memorial Blood Centers



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