Welcome everyone to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. As you know, my passion lies in preventive medicine. Anything in that vein, such as advancing medical research, is important to pass on.
Medical research allows doctors to make better decisions about how to treat patients. It is what makes the development of new medicine, new procedures and new tools possible. That is why I was excited to have Kevin King, Senior Director of Donor Center Strategy and Growth (Biological Specialty Company) on the podcast. He’s a long time friend, dedicated researcher, and fellow advocate for preventive medicine. I hope you will take a moment to watch the video.
Biological Specialty Company (BSC)
- Biological Specialty Company (BSC) has been providing blood and biological specimens to the scientific community for more than 40 years. They have 11 centers globally, one located on Old Gray Station Road, Johnson City, Tennessee.
- Donation Programs include: Whole Blood, Plasmapheresis, White Blood Cells (Leukapheresis), Bone Marrow, Mobilized Leukaphereisis, and other Biofluids. (16:02)
- Plasmapheresis is the process used to obtain plasma from the blood. Plasma is a fluid that carries the other parts of the blood. It also helps clot blood and supports the immune system. It only takes the body about 48 hours to replace plasma after a donation.
- The donor center in Gray is more specialized. Leukapheresis is one of their more in depth programs. Leukapheresis is a procedure used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), or patients with very high white blood cell counts. During leukapheresis, your blood passes through a machine that takes out the white blood cells and returns all the other blood cells and plasma back into the bloodstream.
- Biological Specialty Company is always seeking healthy donors with unique characteristics. All blood types are needed and welcome to donate. Normal healthy blood samples, plasma and other biological specimens from patients are required for medical research. These specimens are used to support the development of in vitro diagnostic test kits, treatments, vaccines, and cures. This is so important!
- BSC is also looking for donors who currently have or have a history of infectious disease, or autoimmune disease. If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or Lupus (SLE), your blood donation could help find a cure.
Stem Cell Research
- Stem cells may have the potential to be grown to become new tissue for use in transplant and regenerative medicine. The hope is that research into all types of stem cells will bring better understanding of human development and for curing disease.
- Kevin King is very involved in stem cell research. This falls along the leukapheresis side where they’re harvesting a portion of the donor’s white blood cells. This process is where you are hooked up to a machine for several hours as the white blood cells are taken away from your body. Then, they return all the rest of the cells and plasma back to you. Those cells are used in stem cell research. (6:49)
- Mobilizing donors (Mobilized Leukapheresis) is a program where they actually stimulate the donors. Prior to donating, injections of a bone marrow stimulating drug called Neupogen (FDA approved) are administered. This boosts your body’s white blood cell production. Mobilized Leukapheresis is a five day program where they collect leukapheresis 2 days in a row. This goes into stem cell research for regenerative medicine. (7:09)
- There’s two branches of stem cell research. There’s the mesenchymal type stem cell where that’s going into joints and helping regenerative medicine. Then there’s the type of stem cell research that’s using cells to study the type of treatments that you hear of for cancer (immunotherapies). This is where they take the cells from patients, modify them, and then reintroduce them into the patients for treatments of cancer and other diseases. (8:10)
Other Topics of Interest
- Thoughts on targeted therapy for cancer. (8:55)
- Natural Killer Cells and how you can help your own immune system. (10:25)
- Radiotherapy (11:48)
- Why I tell all of my patients who have cancer to go Keto. (12:27)
- How to stimulate your own natural killer cells. (12:48)
- The world of immunotherapy is just beginning! (14:40)
To find out if you fit the donor requirements, visit the BSC website (www.biospecialty.com). The benefits can be life saving. As always, do your own research. Stay educated and stay healthy.
Till next week.