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Vitalant and NMDP Open Arizona’s First Stem Cell Collection Site Within a Blood Donation Center

A blood stem cell transplant recipient met his donor at the collection center opening event.

 

Vitalant and NMDP, two mission-driven nonprofit organizations dedicated to saving and improving lives, have joined forces to create the Vitalant – NMDP Collection Center, filling a geographical gap in the Southwest region by offering a new option for blood stem cell donors.

Housed within Vitalant’s Tempe Blood Donation Center, Vitalant staff will perform up to 225 stem cell collections annually for donors scheduled by NMDP. These lifesaving stem cells are then couriered to NMDP partnering transplant centers for patients. One of only eight NMDP partner centers in the U.S. and the first in Arizona, the new Tempe site reduces the burden of travel to better accommodate donors’ schedules when timely donor collection is paramount for a successful outcome. 

“Every year, 12,000 patients are diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancers or other diseases, for which a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor may be their best and only hope for a cure,” said Jamie Margolis, senior vice president of member, donor and product operations for NMDP. “Through this partnership with Vitalant, we're expanding access to treatment so that every patient can receive their life-saving cell therapy.”

“Through Vitalant’s clinical services capabilities, we can enhance NMDP’s ability to provide transplant center partners – and ultimately patients – with optimal cell quality to increase the likelihood of a successful blood stem cell transplant,” said Rob Van Tuyle, chief operating officer for Vitalant. “This partnership builds upon a natural synergy between our organizations: blood and platelet donations are often needed by cancer patients to boost their blood counts and give them the strength to endure cancer therapies like radiation and chemo, and stem cells can be a cure for those with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.”

Arizona Transplant Recipient Meets His Donor
Vitalant and NMDP recognized the partnership and center opening on Wednesday, Jan. 17, with a reunion of a stem cell transplant recipient, John, and his donor, Julia. 

In January 2022, John had what he thought was a leg infection, but it turned out to be acute myeloid leukemia. John’s care team immediately started him on chemo and determined that a transplant would be his best chance for a cure. With no matches in his family, he turned to the NMDP registry and, in June 2022, had a transplant. 

Julia signed up for the NMDP registry when she was in college. Her mom had been in remission for 18 years from leukemia, and Julia wanted to pay it forward. When she got the call in 2022 that she was a match, she didn’t hesitate to donate. 

People of all ethnicities and backgrounds, ages 18-40, are needed to join NMDP’s donor registry. To learn more, visit nmdp.org.

Every 2 seconds, a patient in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion. To learn more about donating blood, platelets and plasma, and to make an appointment to give, visit vitalant.org.

About Vitalant 
Vitalant is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit blood and biotherapies healthcare organizations, providing hospitals and patients across the U.S. a safe blood supply, specialized laboratory services, transfusion medicine expertise and world-renowned research. Learn more about our healthcare solutions at vitalanthealth.org

About NMDP
At NMDP®, we believe each of us holds the key to curing blood cancers and disorders. As a global nonprofit leader in cell therapy, NMDP creates essential connections between researchers and supporters to inspire action and accelerate innovation to find life-saving cures. With the help of blood stem cell donors from the world's most diverse registry and our extensive network of transplant partners, physicians, and caregivers, we're expanding access to treatment so that every patient can receive their life-saving cell therapy. NMDP. Find cures. Save lives.