BLOODBOOK.COM - Blood Information for Life!

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Link - Also see - The History of Transfusion Medicine Link -

From the earliest recorded, Blood has been a point of fascination and mystery. Early in time we see Blood represented as a source of passion in humans. We often hear "hot Blooded," "cold Blooded" and "bad Blood." These familiar expressions are found in every language, and are in common use the world over today.

As history records, Bloodletting was a common medical practice until the early 1800's. This combination of superstition and desire to do something meaningful for sick people, no doubt led to many deaths and the spread of disease. "Thinning the Blood," was also very popular, fruitlessly useless, and sometimes deadly.

For much more information in detail about Blood at this early point in the recorded history of man, we refer you to our Blood Transfusion History pages which are complete, exhaustive and informative.

Early on, 'Blood transfusion' meant direct donor-to-patient transfusion. This practice, however, was frequently disastrous because there was no quality knowledge of Blood types, and compatibility. At first, even animal- to- human transfusion was tried.

In 1901, Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian physician, whom we see as the most important individual in the field of human Blood, documented the first three human Blood groups (based upon substances on the Blood cells), A, B and O. Without this discovery and the subsequent research, there would be no Blood banking. 

The practice of drawing and storing human Blood is a comparatively new science. Borne in these beginnings of human Blood transfusion, the need for storage of the rapidly perishable Blood became obvious.

In 1914, long-term anticoagulants, among them sodium citrate, were developed and tried in Europe, promising longer term preservation of Blood.

In 1916, Francis Rous and J. R. Turner introduced a citrate-glucose solution that permitted storage of Blood for several days after collection. Also, as in the 1915 Richard Lewisohn discoveries at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, this allowed for Blood to be stored in containers for later transfusion, and aided in the transition from the vein-to-vein method to direct transfusion. This discovery also directly led to the establishment of the first Blood 'depot' by the British during World War I. Oswald Robertson was credited as the creator of the Blood depots, basically the forerunner Blood banking system that is in use today.

Further, during that same time period, R. Weil demonstrated the feasibility of refrigerated storage of anti-coagulated Blood.

Early in 1932, the first facility, fully functioning as what would come to be known as a "Blood bank," was established in a Leningrad Russia hospital.

In 1936, Bernard Fantus, director of therapeutics at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago, established the first hospital Blood bank in the United States In creating a hospital laboratory that can preserve and store donor Blood, Fantus originated the term 'Blood bank.' Within a few years, hospital and community Blood banks began to be established across the United States Some of the earliest documented were in Cincinnati, San Francisco, New York and Miami.

In 1940, when he was at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York, Dr. Charles Drew, a graduate of McGill University Medical School in Montreal, researched and documented a technique for long-term preservation of Blood plasma. By separating the liquid red Blood cells from the near solid plasma and freezing the two separately, he found that Blood could be preserved and reconstituted at a later date. In addition, as a prolific inventor, he was a major contributor to the advancement of Blood banking in the United States. In England, he helped supply thousands of units of plasma for World War II victims.

Later in 1940, Edwin Cohn, a professor of biological chemistry at Harvard Medical School, developed a cold ethanol fractionation, the process of breaking down Blood plasma into components and products, that were made available for clinical use. This was the birth of the Blood product manufacturing industry.

Blood banking began growing rapidly with the return from World War II of physicians who had seen the effectiveness of transfusion therapy and began to demand that Blood be made available for treatment of their patients.

In 1946, the United States Public Health Service issued the first federal license permitting the 'manufacture' of whole Blood.

In 1947, the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) was formed to "promote common goals among Blood banking facilities and the American Blood donating public." Essential to this success story were the goals to support and encourage continued Blood research, to facilitate the exchange of scientific information, and to develop standards of practice for Blood banks. This commitment to universal standards and communication changed the business of Blood banking forever.

By 1948 the American [National] Red Cross had began operating a comprehensive program to collect and distribute Blood.

By 1950, the United States Blood collection system had grown to approximately 1,500 hospital Blood banks, 46 community Blood centers and 31 American Red Cross regional Blood centers, among others.

Also in 1950, Carl Walter and W. P. Murphy, Jr. introduced the plastic bag for Blood collection and storage, replacing breakable glass bottles with rugged plastic bags. These plastic bags allowed, among other things, economical ultra low temperature freezing of Blood and Blood products.

Additionally in 1950, an active year in Blood banking history, the use of glycerol cryoprotectant for freezing red Blood cells became widespread.

In 1951, the AABB Clearinghouse (now the National Blood Exchange) was established, providing a centralized system in the United States for safely exchanging Blood among Blood banks.

By 1962 in the United States, there were 4400 hospital Blood banks, over 120 community Blood centers and more than 50 American Red Cross Blood centers, collecting a total of five to six million units of Blood per year.

1965 - Judith Graham Pool identifies the technique, now known as cryoprecipitation for concentrating factor VII from Blood plasma.

1972 - The FDA Bureau of Biologics begins regulating Blood resources. It assumed this responsibility from the National Institutes of Health, Division of Biologics Standards.

1973 - The FDA publishes more precise standards for Source Plasma and requires all operating plasmapheresis facilities to apply for and maintain licensure of Blood establishments and Blood products and submission to inspection standards.

1974 - The FDA declares Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP's) for the collection, processing, and storage of human Blood and Blood components.

1977 - The formal FDA compliance program is established. Annual facility inspections are transferred from the FDA Bureau of Biologics to FDA field investigators and program supervisors.

1989 - The FDA issues some light weight requirements for computerization of Blood related establishments, with higher quality requirements to come.

1992 - The International Plasma Products Industry Association, an influential trade group representing Blood manufacturers) is formed (primarily U. S.).

1994 - The European Association of the Plasma Products Industry, a trade group representing Blood manufacturers in Europe and the UK, is founded.

In 1996 and 1997 - The United States Government first issued reports suggesting problems with the Blood supply, along with suggestions of ways to improve Blood safety, including regulatory reform in the Blood processing and Blood banking industries. This has become a routine event.

An effort of many years in 1999 produced the implementation by the Blood manufacturing community of Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAT) under the FDA’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application process. NAT employs a testing technology that directly detects the genetic materials of viruses like HCV and HIV.

In the United States today, licensed Blood donation and banking establishments include centers that collect, process, store and distribute Blood and Blood products. These facilities are engaged in Interstate Commerce, and are therefore regulated under federal law. Standardization, inspection and enforcement are bringing the science of Blood banking to an ever newer, more useful and trusted place.

Long term "cryo" storage of Blood and Blood products at hyper low temperatures is shaping the story of the future of Blood, Blood products and the safety of the public Blood supply. These processes also offer ever more economical autologous Blood donation and storage alternatives for those who need and/or can afford them.

Link - Also see - The History of Transfusion Medicine Link -

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   last updated 03/10/2013