JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — April 26, 2023 —LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, headquartered in Gainesville, Fla., was selected to provide CD-34 cells (stem cells) to Dr. Abba Zubair of Mayo Clinic in Florida for his research study aboard the International Space Station. This is a collaborative research study that includes BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado Boulder and ClinImmune, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver and Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Zubair and others are studying how these stem cells will divide or expand in space versus how the same cells expand on Earth with the ultimate goal that these cells could be used for cancer treatment.
“It is an honor for LifeSouth to be selected by Dr. Zubair to provide stem cells for this important research,” said LifeSouth President and CEO, Kimberly Kinsell. “By partnering with medical researchers like Dr. Zubair, with their incredibly important work, we are helping to advance lifesaving medical research. This aligns with LifeSouth’s core mission of saving lives.”
A Northrup Grumman Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center in May 2023 and will carry the cryogenically preserved cells provided by LifeSouth to the International Space Station. Crew members on board will thaw the cells and seed them into specialized hardware to allow them to expand.
Products being used for this study are produced by LifeSouth from umbilical cord blood collected by the LifeSouth Cord Blood Bank that are not eligible for transfusion. Mothers can donate their newborn’s umbilical cord blood for transplant at hospitals partnering with LifeSouth locally at UF Health and Baptist Medical Center South. The cord blood collected is banked and listed on the Be the Match Registry, making it available for patients needing a stem cell transplant. If the cord blood is not viable for transplant, it can be used for medical research aimed at curing cancers, diseases and genetic disorders.
Luis Hernandez, Director of Cellular Therapies for LifeSouth, emphasizes the importance of cord blood donation to help patients and research programs advancing modern medicine. “Our hospital partners and the families that donate their umbilical cord to LifeSouth’s public cord blood bank provide lifesaving opportunities to patients now and those who will benefit from future scientific breakthroughs.”
To learn more about LifeSouth Community Blood Centers and the LifeSouth Cord Blood Bank visit lifesouth.org.
LifeSouth is a non-profit community blood bank serving more than 125 hospitals in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. LifeSouth is committed to meeting the blood supply needs of hospitals and their patients by providing the highest quality blood components and services. The LifeSouth team is dedicated to making sure the blood is there when a patient is in need. To learn more, visit LifeSouth.org.