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.