- Results underscore the initial safety and viability of the Company’s paid donor model to supplement and diversify the existing platelet supply, and to support further application in new markets affected by the ongoing national platelet shortage
- The model shows the ability to reliably control donor recruitment and to provide blood component surge capacity in times of supply chain weakness, a novel concept in transfusion medicine
- Findings include donor demographics, motivations, recruitment, retention, and operational efficiencies during the initial 22 months of operating the Company’s first platelet donation center in Edina, Minnesota
- Data were planned for presentation at the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies (AABB) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida October 1-4th
AUSTIN, TX., October 19, 2022 – Secure Transfusion Solutions (STS), a private life sciences company pioneering innovative solutions to overcome the nation’s growing blood and platelet shortage, has shared new data from its initial experience operating its first paid blood platelet donation center, Trusting Heart Blood Center (THBC), in Edina, Minnesota. The findings, originally planned for presentation at the cancelled 2022 Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies (AABB) Annual Meeting, include donor demographics, motivations, recruitment, retention, and operational efficiencies observed in the first 22 months of THBC Edina operations and suggest initial viability and safety of this novel paid donation model. An electronic version of the poster presentation can be found on STS’ website.
“Our mission is to permanently solve for one of the greatest challenges facing humanity this century, the ongoing blood and platelet shortage affecting more and more families in severity and scope,” said Vijai Mohan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Secure Transfusion Solutions. “The success observed from our first center’s operations is promising and affirms that our paid blood donation model, modernized facilities, and rigorous donor safety protocols including pathogen reduction and screening criteria in excess of regulatory requirements serve as the blueprint for a new and integral supply paradigm capable of stabilizing hospital platelet supplies and permanently improving patient access to life-saving care.”
Joseph Cho, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs at STS commented: “The availability of life-saving blood components, such as platelets, is under threat. Due to an aging donor base, recruitment of younger, diverse donors is of vital importance to sustain the platelet supply. Our data demonstrate the effectiveness of our model to recruit and retain younger platelet donors, both male and female. We also share data on our ability to increase the number of collections in a controlled manner around holidays, which are known times of blood supply chain fragility. Our initial experience operating Trusting Heart Blood Center in Edina, Minnesota provides evidence of a solution towards a reliable and sustainable platelet supply.”
Mr. Mohan added: “We are also pleased to be experiencing similarly positive trends at newer STS facilities operating in Raleigh, North Carolina and Beaverton, Oregon, indicating that trends observed at our Edina, Minnesota center can be reproduced nationally. We look forward to the continued execution of our mission and the opening of future centers which pave the way to the betterment of this critical facet of our national healthcare system.”
Data presented by authors Joseph H. Cho, M.D., Ph.D., Sean P. Cotter, Selena K. Brown and Philip C. Spinella, M.D., titled: “Initial Experience of a For-Profit Blood Center Collecting Apheresis Platelets Indicates Feasibility and Safety” were collected from three sources: (1) the donor database at the blood center from its inception through its first 22 months of operations, (2) internal marketing data and (3) a donor motivation data form completed by all individuals who completed a second donation at Trusting Heart Blood Center in one of three locations: Edina, MN, Raleigh, NC and Beaverton, OR. Donor motivation data forms were collected between June 2022 through August 2022 from 452 individuals.
Details on the results of the presentation can be found below.
Donor demographics reveal a younger and majority female donor base in contrast to the older, majority male donor base of other blood collection organizations.
A major factor contributing to the national platelet shortage is an aging donor pool with an insufficient number of young donors willing to regularly participate in the two to three-hour apheresis platelet donation process.1 To provide a solution for this problem, STS developed a new donation model combining a high-quality experience and donor compensation, in tandem intended to increase engagement and donation frequency (Figure 1). The initial 22-month experience at Trusting Heart Blood Center in Edina, MN validates the new donation model by demonstrating the recruitment and retention of a younger donor base (N=893) in comparison to other blood collection organizations.2,3 The median (IQR) male donor age is 43 (32-55) and the median female donor age is 45 (32-57). The percentage of male donors and female donors is 46.7% and 53.3%, respectively, in contrast to other blood collection organizations which typically have a majority male donor base.2
Donor motivations include factors outside of monetary compensation.
Reported data indicate that while monetary compensation is an important factor for donors at Trusting Heart Blood Center (THBC), other motivators include altruism, personal significance, and understanding the current need for platelets.
Respondents were asked to evaluate the extent to which a motivational criterion served as a driver for their donation. The percentages presented represent the combined rates of “agree” or “strongly agree” responses.
- Altruism, goodwill, kindness: 91%
- Understanding the need for platelets for patients: 88%
- Monetary incentive: 80%
- Location of the center: 57%
- Personal connection to someone who received blood components: 40%
Respondents were also asked if they would consider donating blood or platelets even if no monetary compensation was provided. The responses were as follows:
- Probably would and/or definitely would: 33%
- Perhaps might: 29%
- Unsure: 26%
- Not at all: 12%
The STS platelet donation model allows for substantial efficiencies in split rate, high order fill rates and predictability as well as control over donor recruitment, donation frequency and the opportunity for collection surge capacity, especially evident during traditionally challenging holiday periods.
Split rate is the average number of transfusable units manufactured per platelet collection. Every platelet collection has the potential to yield either one, two, or three transfusable units. The split rate reflects the use of pathogen reduction for all collected platelets intended for transfusion and is based on the 2,665 collections performed between October 2020 and August 2022. The highest split rate observed was 2.28 as of June 2022, with a mean split rate of 2.21 in the last four months reported in the study. A rigorous donor selection and retention process afforded by the compensated donor model allows the higher observed split rate compared to other blood collection organizations that also employ 100% pathogen-reduction.4
The average monthly order fill rate from June 2021 through August 2022 was 92% (2,289/3,694).
Donor recruitment at THBC is performed using digital marketing strategies employing various social media platforms. A “lead” is generated when an individual fills out an online interest form. The next step is for the completed lead to visit THBC for a pre-screen appointment which serves as the first step towards qualifying a donor. After at least 21 days, if the “pre-screen” applicant passes all screening requirements including infectious disease testing and physiologic thresholds predictive of higher split rates, the individual can make a first platelet donation, however that donation will only be processed for transfusion if the donor passes a second round of infectious disease testing and therefore becomes a “qualified” donor. Using seven-day moving averages, we report that the number of leads generated is a forward indicator for the number of completed pre-screen appointments 12 days later and the number of first-time donations completed 26 days after pre-screen appointments. This industry-first predictability and control over donor recruitment allows for the ability to match supply against the rapidly growing needs of patients who require platelet transfusions.
Donor frequency is a measure of the number of instances an individual has presented for collection in a specific time frame. Since THBC has only been operational for 22 months and the mean length of time a donor has been donating at the blood center as of July 2022 is 4.47 months, the data is instead described as “in-month donor frequency” – the mean number of times a donor in a given month have donated since being qualified. For example, the average number of times donors presenting in the month of January 2022 have donated since previously being qualified was 7.1 times.
Collection surge capacity was calculated by comparing the number of collections during the holiday promotion period to baseline collection capacity (the average number of donations collected per day for the eight days immediately preceding a holiday promotion period). Collection surge capacity, reported as a percentage, was the average collections per day during the holiday period relative to baseline. The reported results were as follows:
- Christmas 2021 and New Year’s Day 2022: 232% compared to baseline
- Thanksgiving 2021: 206% compared to baseline
- Labor Day 2021: 149% compared to baseline
The effective utilization of a novel combination of safety measures yields zero positive donor test results and no withdrawals or lookbacks to date.
STS implements significantly more rigorous safety and screening protocols for donors and collected platelet units at THBC compared to other blood collection organizations. These protocols include (1) testing every applicant donor for the presence of infectious disease twice with each test performed at least 21 days apart, (2) the use of pathogen reduction for all platelets intended for transfusion, and (3) performing quality control review of all manufactured components. THBC in Edina, MN has experienced zero positive donor tests, withdrawals, or lookbacks during its first 22 months of operation.
- Stubbs, J.R., Homer, M.J., Silverman, T., Cap, A.P. (2020). The current state of the platelet supply in the US and proposed options to decrease the risk of critical shortages. Transfusion, 61(1), 303-312.
- Sayers, M. (2022). Donor motivation and psychosocial research. Transfusion, 62(9), 1912-1916.
- Bravo, M., Kamel, H., Vassallo, R.R. (2020). Changing Demographics of Platelet Donors Across the Years: 2011, 2015, and 2019 (P-BB-11). Plenary Oral Abstract Session. Transfusion, 60(S5), 7A-260A.
- Shu, E., Owen, B., Belanger, G.A., Sussman, H., Pandey, S., Pham, T. (2021). Implementing Full Pathogen Reduction Technology Apheresis Platelet Inventory Does Not Reduce Overall Production Compared to Dual Inventory (P-BB-40). Abstracts. Transfusion, 61(S3), 7A-251A.
About Secure Transfusion Solutions
Secure Transfusion Solutions (STS) is a life sciences company pioneering innovative methods to overcome the nation’s growing blood and platelet shortage. Its purpose is to restore hope, build trust and improve quality of life by increasing patient access to readily available and safe transfusion solutions. An innovative company able to execute strategies out of reach of others in the transfusion space, STS provides healthcare institutions with safe and consistent service and true supply chain diversification. By partnering with STS, hospital systems increase confidence in the sourcing of blood components, better preparing them to meet evolving patient transfusion needs.
For more information, visit www.securetransfusion.com.
About the Platelet Shortage
Each day, hospitals around the U.S. require an average of 7,000 platelet doses, and with the national blood and platelet shortage, a significant number of hospitals struggle to meet this demand. The majority of platelet transfusions at hospitals are used to prevent bleeding in certain cancer patients and those undergoing cardiac surgeries and organ transplants. Platelets have a shorter shelf life than typical blood components alone and must be transfused within five to seven days from collection, driving a continuous need. Exacerbated by industry challenges to the effective recruitment of blood donors, hospital demand for platelet units continues to exceed available supply.
Secure Transfusion Solutions, Inc.