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Oklahoma Blood Institute Receives Grant to Detect Cancer-Fighting Cells

Oklahoma Blood Institute Receives $50,000 Grant from Presbyterian Health Foundation to Purchase Flow Cytometer to Advance Research Projects

OBI Advancing Cell Therapies to Help Fight Cancer

January 7, 2021 (OKLAHOMA CITY) – Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) has received a generous $50,000 grant from Presbyterian Health Foundation to purchase sophisticated equipment to advance research into cell-based therapy for cancer patients.

 

With the granted funds, OBI will purchase the Attune NxT Acoustic Focusing Cytometer from ThermoFisher Scientific, which will be used to identify donors with certain types of cells needed for new cellular therapies.

 

“Oklahoma Blood Institute is more than just a community blood bank, they are a recognized biotech innovator,” said PHF President and Chair, Tom R. Gray, III. “We are proud to support the work of OBI in securing state-of-the-art technology, ultimately giving Oklahomans who are fighting cancer a better chance of survival.”

Through pilot experiments, Dr. Jennifer Chain, Ph.D. – scientific director of Oklahoma Blood Institute’s Research and Development Laboratory – identified a unique subset of cancer-fighting cells in the blood of certain blood donors. With the Attune Nxt instrument, she will identify blood donors who carry these specialized cells and decipher the detailed characteristics needed to harness their cancer-fighting properties.

 

As the largest bio-tech firm in the Oklahoma City metro, Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) works closely with scientists in developing cutting-edge treatments-- connecting blood donors and blood products directly to the research and development of cellular therapies. OBI has become a national leader among community blood centers in promoting the development of regenerative medicine and new treatments for cancer.

“Presbyterian Health Foundation remains steadfastly committed to funding medical research initiatives with the end-goal of improving patient care,” said PHF Grants and Programs Officer, April Stuart. “We are excited to follow Dr. Chain’s discoveries as she utilizes this new tool in her laboratory at OBI.”

The Attune NxT works up to ten times faster than other technologies currently available. Its acoustic focusing and clog-prevention technologies enable the analysis and counting of rare cells in the blood, while maintaining high-quality data collection.

“Adding the Attune NxT advances our ability to analyze how certain blood cells grow and fight tumor cells, using two lasers to detect up to seven different fluorescent dyes,” said Dr. Chain. “Additional lasers can be added to the instrument in the future, which will only increase our potential for more advanced cellular research.”

The instrument will also be used to analyze stem cells that can be programmed to grow new tissue and heal wounds. Dr. Chain’s research into mesenchymal stromal cells – a population of stem cells found in bone marrow – will be advanced through the use of this sophisticated instrument.

“Presbyterian Health Foundation’s support will give patients the opportunity to receive revolutionary cellular therapies,” said Charles Mooney, vice president of Quality Management and New Business Ventures at Oklahoma Blood Institute. “As cellular therapies change and grow, OBI is grateful that grants such as this allow us to further harness the giving spirit of our blood donors and play an essential role in the rapidly advancing fight against cancer.”

 

Oklahoma Blood Institute is the 6th-largest independent blood center in the nation, providing more than 90% of Oklahoma’s blood supply to over 160 hospitals and medical facilities. For more information, visit obi.org.

Presbyterian Health Foundation (PHF) is an Oklahoma City based private foundation that provides grants to accelerate the journey of scientific discovery from ideas to innovations that save and enhance life. Since 1985, PHF has awarded over $170 million to biotechnology and medical research organizations in Oklahoma with an emphasis on the Oklahoma Health Center. For more information, please visit phfokc.com.                                          

 

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