Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund Awards Grant to Memorial Blood Centers to Support Minnesota’s Cancer Community
ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Memorial Blood Centers (MBC), Minnesota’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood center, today announced the receipt of a $10,000 grant from the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund (RSCRCF) that will be used to directly benefit cancer patients served by Minnesota hospitals.
About half of all Minnesotans will be diagnosed with a potentially serious cancer during their lifetime, according to the latest data provided by the Minnesota Cancer Surveillance System and Minnesota Center for Health Statistics. More than 25,000 Minnesotans receive such a diagnosis each year.
“While the number of new cancer cases in the state can seem overwhelming, advances in technology and treatment methods have turned many types of cancer into chronic diseases rather than death sentences,” said Dr. Jed Gorlin, Medical Director at Memorial Blood Centers. “That’s truly great news. It also means that there is an increasing demand for blood products, in general, and platelets in particular, which are essential to sustaining the lives of patients undergoing cancer treatments and chemotherapy. And that’s where this generous grant from the RSCRCF will make a real life-saving difference.”
“Platelet transfusions go hand-in-hand with chemotherapy,” Dr. Gorlin continued. “And over the course of multiple transfusions, a patient battling leukemia, for example, can develop antibodies to foreign antigens present in donors’ platelets. When that happens, a more effective outcome can often be achieved with donated platelets that have been closely matched with the patient’s antigens. That requires testing and thanks to funding from RSCRCF, we now will be able to double the number of tests we perform to expand our pool of eligible, HLA-matched platelet donors.”
Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) are proteins that play an important role in the immune system’s defense against bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Each person has a unique set of HLA antigens, inheriting one set from each parent, resulting in thousands of possible HLA types in the population. To increase the odds of finding an HLA match for any given patient, it is crucial to have as many people HLA typed as possible.
“We are very pleased to provide this funding to Memorial Blood Centers and to join together to help save and sustain the lives of more cancer patients in the community,” said Roseann Giovanatto-Shaver, Executive Director, Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund. “From the beginning, our foundation has been dedicated to partnering with researchers, medical experts, other individuals and organizations doing path-breaking work in cancer research, prevention, and treatment. This new funding relationship with MBC is one more significant step forward in fulfilling our mission and meeting the needs of cancer patients and their families.”
Fast Facts About Platelets
- One of three main components in whole blood (along with red cells and plasma), platelets control bleeding and promote clotting by forming clusters to plug small holes in blood vessels.
- As cancer patients live longer and continue receiving multiple platelet transfusions, more people will develop antibodies to foreign antigens and need HLA-matched platelets to survive.
- Donated platelets have a shelf-life of just 5 days and are in constant demand.
- Approximately 8 million units of platelets are transfused in the U.S. every year.
About Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund
Founded by Randy Shaver, cancer survivor and veteran Sports Director at KARE-11 Television (NBC Affiliate), the Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund supports Minnesota’s cancer community through grants to advance the development of technology and tools that enhance early detection, research to help prevent cancer relapses, and other programs that provide aid and assistance. http://randyshavercancerfund.org
About Memorial Blood Centers
Memorial Blood Centers has been saving lives for over 60 years as an independent nonprofit supplying life-saving blood to area hospitals and other partners throughout the U.S. Operating 11 donor centers and conducting hundreds of blood drives each month, Memorial Blood Centers also provides comprehensive testing and expert technical services as a national leader in transfusion medicine.
All eligible blood donors are encouraged to give generously. To make an appointment, call 1-888-GIVE-BLD or register online at www.MBC.org.
SOURCE Memorial Blood Centers