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San Diego Blood Bank Collaborates with Clinical and Translational Research Institute

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The San Diego Blood Bank has announced that it is collaborating with the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) to support clinical trial recruitment and enrollment and increase the biorepository collection of blood samples of healthy individuals. The CTRI has also welcomed David Wellis, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of SDBB to its Executive Committee leadership team.

As part of the SDBB and CTRI collaboration, and efforts to support clinical trials, the Community Engagement Unit at CTRI has placed iPads at the main SDBB location so that blood donors can register with ResearchMatch, a volunteer online registry funded by the National Institutes of Health that brings together researchers and volunteers who would like to be involved in research studies.

“Our collaboration with the CTRI highlights how we are growing our core business beyond conventional blood banking services and integrating into the life science research community,” said David Wellis, PhD, San Diego Blood Bank Chief Executive Officer. “As a community partner organization of CTRI, we want to help ensure our community’s health and wellness by leveraging our resources and capabilities to impact basic science and clinical research. While we intend to support clinical trials, we also plan to apply for government funding of our own research into disease mechanisms and therapeutic development.”

The recently signed collaboration will also support efforts between the Translational Research Technology Unit at CTRI and the SDBB to collect and store fresh and expired blood samples for use in research.

The samples will be housed in a newly created joint biorepository, which should be operational within this year. In addition, deferred donors - those who have been exposed to diseases such as malaria and cannot donate blood for a period of time - can help by volunteering to participate in clinical trials.

“I’m excited by this win-win collaboration, which has the potential to expand into additional areas that would benefit research, as well as the community, and ultimately lead to healthier lives,” said Gary Firestein, MD, Director of CTRI, Professor of Medicine Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine.

Firestein continued, “I am also pleased to welcome Dr. Wellis to the CTRI Executive Committee. He has an outstanding background that bridges scientific research, biobanking, and community development, all of which will further help us accelerate laboratory discoveries into clinical treatments for patients.”

An advantage of the San Diego Blood Bank is its capability to provide control samples. The Blood Bank’s donor base has been described as “incredibly loyal” and as being made up of individuals “interested in helping.”

The Blood Bank has a high volume of samples coming through the door every year and boasts 65,000 unique blood donors annually. Each month, approximately 10,000 samples are collected through six San Diego County sites and 13 Blood Mobiles, including one that makes frequent stops at UC San Diego.