AABB Website Gets a Facelift
The AABB website has been redesigned, and cellular therapies has a new look that’s front and center. Serving both the public and professional members, this site has something for everyone. Most of your resources will be under “Cellular Therapies for Professionals,” so be sure to bookmark this as a favorite. Tools such as the billing guide, donor history questionnaire and commendable practice examples all will be housed here, with quick links to related items such as publications to help you find what you need.
CT Subsection Offers Assistance for Cryopreservation Bag Validations and Vendor Selections
The Product Development and Tech Transfer Subsection of the Cellular Therapies Section has developed resource materials for those AABB members researching new cryopreservation bag options. This project was in response to a vendor’s recent decision to stop production of certain cryopreservation bags. These resources are intended to 1) provide guidance and points to consider when evaluating replacement vendors and bags; and 2) assist in performing validations on alternate bags. The validation outline provided is in template form, allowing facilities to customize their approach to fit their needs. New products and projects developed by each of the different CT subsections will be posted on the AABB website as they are completed.
Practice Snapshot Survey Open to Evaluate Training of Cord Blood Collection Staff
The Cord Blood Subsection has developed a practice snapshot survey to assess current practices for the training and training documentation of cord blood unit (HPC, Cord Blood) collection staff. The quick survey is designed to provide a snapshot of industry practices. Those facilities affiliated with a cord blood bank are encouraged to take a minute to complete the survey. Results from previous practice snapshots also are available.
Assay Development Subsection Assesses Viability Methods
The Assay Development Subsection has developed a practice snapshot survey to assess current practices for performing viability assays on cellular therapy products. The information will be used to develop educational materials and best practices for cell therapy product viability assessment.
AABB Launches New CT Social Networking Community
Want to know how others handle sterility challenges or the best way to utilize electronic procedures? If so, you might want to consider joining the latest social networking craze. The AABB Community offers a cellular therapy group, allowing members to invite colleagues, join discussions and view postings. Individuals can check out the discussions or, better yet, post their own. To join, log in to the AABB Community, select “Cellular Therapy” and click “Join This Group.” You also can sign up to receive e-mail alerts when there are new postings by clicking on the golden alarm bell that is visible once you enter the “Discussions” section for the group. Groups and topics will be expanded in the future, so you’ll want to join early to take full advantage of this opportunity.
CT Section to Host Business Meeting in October
AABB members with an interest in cellular therapy are invited to attend the Cellular Therapies Section business meeting at the AABB Annual Meeting in October. The meeting will include an update on all the past year’s projects and goals of the cell therapy subsections and provide an opportunity for attendees to participate in leadership elections. Cellular Therapies Section membership is open to all AABB members who would like to contribute to a variety of activities in this field. With 10 subsection categories, everyone is sure to find something of interest. It is a great way to network, collaborate on projects and actively participate in your professional organization.
Subsection to Offer Help for Business Challenges
The Business Management Subsection is just getting started, so it is the perfect time for you to join. The group is finalizing a business plan template and will begin to discuss reimbursement and billing challenges. Access to these and other groups is just one of the many benefits of joining AABB.
FAQ Now Includes Product Coding Question
Unsure how to code new products? Wondering how product codes are assigned? New content has been added to the AABB website’s ISBT 128 FAQ that answers these questions.
AABB Surveys Facilities on Implementation Status
Five years after a coalition called for international adoption of ISBT 128 for cell therapy products, a survey is being conducted to assess the implementation status. The survey, detailed in a letter sent recently to AABB member institutions, will help us develop appropriate educational programs and practical tools to facilitate the transition.
Newly Available Audioconference Describes Common Practices in Pictures
If you missed the audioconference “Practices in Cellular Therapy: Video and Discussion,” you can still take advantage of this innovative offering and purchase the full program now to listen to at your convenience. Four speakers used videos to describe their current approach to common practices such as environmental monitoring, cleaning and line clearance, cord blood processing and post-thaw washing of products. These videos make invaluable teaching tools and the recording, complete with PowerPoint slides and videos, is value-priced at $70 for AABB members. Be sure to make these part of your resource library! Other audioconferences also are available on the AABB website.
Cord Blood Collaboration Under Way on U.S. FDA BLA Requirements
At the Cord Blood Licensure Workshop, various cord blood banks chose to collaborate on about 10 projects to assist each other in meeting some of the biologic license application requirements for unrelated allogeneic cord blood. A website displays the work of these groups, including templates and points to consider; materials may be found under “Products.”
Registration Opens for Annual Meeting and CTTXPO
Join us in Baltimore Oct. 9-12 for the 2010 AABB Annual Meeting and CTTXPO, where numerous regulatory topics will be addressed, including U.S. FDA cord blood licensure, the challenge of juggling various international regulations and the role of medical device approvals for cellular therapy products. Innovative therapies such as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, and recent advances in regenerative medicine will provide material for stimulating discussion and debate. Several sessions will incorporate instant response technology, or audience feedback, enhancing the experience. In these sessions, each audience member will answer polling questions, receive an immediate breakdown of the responses and participate in a lively discussion of the results. You can choose from among more than 20 cell therapy-related sessions and see numerous abstract posters highlighting cell therapy topics as well as new vendors on the exhibit floor.
Numerous References Available for CT Professionals
Everyone could use a little help, and AABB has the perfect resources for busy professionals. The Circular of Information for the Use of Cellular Therapy Products recently was released by the publications department. Available for distribution in packets of 10, these circulars accompany products at distribution. The circular also contains the correct terminology for products. Cellular Therapy: Principles, Methods and Regulations and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: A Handbook for Clinicians are available as well. Both contain methods, treatment algorithms and sample templates and include a CD. Visit the AABB Marketplace to ensure your resource library is complete!
Billing Guide for Cellular Therapy Can Help With Charge and Coding Challenges
Don’t miss this valuable resource! The AABB Billing Guide covers cellular therapy services, with CPT code descriptions and examples included. If you have not already done so, please review this guide as you work with your finance and billing office to update charge and coding information.
We would like to devote a bit of space here for published papers that may be of interest to our cell therapy enthusiasts. Articles are selected based on interest level and are not intended as an endorsement of any kind. Members interested in starting a discussion about these articles are encouraged to post a comment in the AABB Community within the Cell Therapy Group.
We hope you find this section interesting and would appreciate your feedback. E-mail the cellular therapies department to share your thoughts and any article suggestions.
Review Article Provides Update on Immune Reconstitution after Allo HSC Transplantation
Allogeneic HSC transplantation has become a “common” procedure for treating malignancies and immune disorders by redirecting the immune system. Enhancing immune reconstitution has become an area of intensive research. In a recent issue of Blood, Seggeweis and Einsele provide an update on selected issues of development in this evolving field. Note: Special access may be required.
Journal Article Looks at Stem Cells as Potential Treatment for Muscle Injuries
Stem cells from several sources have been used in a variety of treatments and are being tested in numerous domains, including skeletal muscle injuries. In an article published in the January issue of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, Quintero et al discuss how stem cells show promise for the treatment of muscle injuries as well as other muscle-related conditions.
Review Article Explores Therapeutic Potential of Stem Cells
Research has demonstrated the various applications for stem cells to benefit human health. A simple yet comprehensive review by Watt and Driskell — published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society — incorporates different aspects of this therapeutic potential.