STBTC supports patients, medical research

February 19, 2019

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is a community blood provider with a primary focus – now and always – of providing blood for the approximately 100 hospitals and clinics in our service area.

While we provide blood to hospitals and clinics, we are not prescribers. Instead, licensed physicians working within the hospitals and clinics we serve are responsible for prescribing transfusions of various types of blood components – or any type of therapy or medication – to meet the needs of their individual patients.

Blood centers have provided specialized blood components for use by licensed physicians for many years; for example, providing specific types of blood from certain donors for premature babies.

Support for Medical Research

After community needs are met, and to ensure no donated blood is wasted, we provide blood where it is needed, including to support research that will advance medical care. The mission of community blood banks across the country includes support for medical research. This is how transfusion medicine advances and how new therapies are developed to improve patient care.

Some of the work we support when blood is available is research underway here in our region, in academic labs, local research institutions and military medical research.

We require that researchers who receive any blood components from us maintain oversight and approval of any clinical trials through an Institutional Review Board (IRB), and the researchers must follow all federal and state laws designed to protect patients. In fact, we operate within a highly regulated environment, and we have rigorous checks and balances in place to ensure regulations are followed. 

Maintaining Industry Standards

As a nonprofit organization, we cover our costs for collecting, testing, processing, storing and distributing blood by charging researchers fees for blood components. Those fees vary, based on what is required and the costs involved in providing it. We do not charge for blood components based on the type of customer or procedure.

The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) and America’s Blood Centers maintain information on average fees for various types of blood components. Our fees fall within those averages.

We follow all FDA and Human Research Protections guidelines, including donor consent requirements, which ensure all blood donors are provided information about possible uses and risks of their donation. The consent forms for blood donors state that blood donations will be used to serve both clinical and research purposes.

Statement from AABB (American Association of Blood Banks)

The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) works closely with a network of partners and member blood centers to help ensure the safety and security of all volunteer blood donors. Blood centers like South Texas Blood & Tissue Center follow industry standards and provide blood and blood products, when available, for medical research that is approved and overseen by an Institutional Review Board. Arrangements such as these are important for the ability of blood centers to meet the needs of their community while preserving the sustainability of the blood supply.