News roundup #1: Critical need for Latino donors, successful UK Sikh temple drive, fecal transplant commentary and more
Great local NBC news coverage from South Texas about the dwindling numbers of blood and tissue donors, with a special focus on the Latino community (video and article).
Wired Magazine has some interesting commentary about regulatory barriers and growing support for fecal transplants. For the uninformed, yes, fecal transplants are exactly what they sound like. Get over the ick and you might not be sick! There’s some interesting thoughts about commodification :
I wonder, though. You can’t monetize feces: They are abundant, free and and essentially unpatentable, making it unlikely that pharmaceutical companies, the major funders of US biomedical research, would support research involving them. But, admittedly, feces are unavoidably disgusting. So what if there were a feces transplant that was not disgusting, because it did not, in fact, use feces? A pharma company can’t patent stool — but it could certainly patent, and charge a high price for, a universal stool replacement that contained some optimal combination of the major types of gut flora needed to restore intestinal health.
Here’s even more extensive coverage in Scientific American by the same author, which talks more about donor selection:
Most clinicians who perform fecal transplants ask their patients to find their own donors and prefer that they be a child, sibling, parent or spouse. “For me, it’s aesthetic,” says Christina Surawicz, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington… “There’s something very intimate about putting someone else’s stool in your colon, and you are already intimate with a spouse.”
…Khoruts no longer uses related donors—which requires finding a different individual for every case—but instead has recruited a cadre of “universal donors” from among local health care workers.
Straight out of this week’s American Society of Hematology conference in San Diego, University of Pennsylvania researchers present findings of an HIV drug that helps curb Graft-versus-Host disease(GvHD) in stem cell transplant patients in addition to normal regimen of GvHD drugs. Yet another case for transplantation and transfusion stakeholders to take into account HIV/AIDS.
Singapore Red Cross launches a suite of personalized social media tools on their Facebook page to better connect with blood donors. Summary coverage here.
An immunology grad student shows how the scientific researcher can also commit to community mobilization, rallying 45 potential donors at the research campus at the University of Iowa.