Our role in Australia’s healthcare was proving to be much more than collecting and distributing blood, with our increasing involvement in life-changing research

We continued to refine our day-to-day procedures, including the move from glass bottles to plastic blood bags in blood collections. Plastic bags not only extended the shelf-life of donations, but also significantly lowered exposure to bacteria and proved to be more economical.

We supported the work of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory (CSL) and their research into the clotting factors of plasma. The discovery of anti-haemophilic globulin (AHG) was life changing for haemophiliacs, with Australia being not only the first country to produce AHG, but also had the highest production per capita in the world.

Our combination of biomedical know-how and independence from hospitals put us in the perfect position to manage tissue typing, with the first laboratory in South Australia soon followed by New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Our record keeping and research in this space was the foundation of the nationwide organ matching service that we have today.

One of our most exciting developments was the groundbreaking Rhesus antibody project which, in 1967, ensured the prevention of haemolytic disease in newborn babies. This groundbreaking Anti-D Program used donor plasma to create anti-D immunoglobulin injections to prevent complications for unborn children. Today, over two million Australian women have welcomed healthy babies into the world thanks to our Anti-D program.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Our ground-breaking Anti-D Program helped prevent unborn children from significant complications, from mild anaemia and jaundice through to severe brain damage and death
  • We led significant research abroad which aided the discovery of anti-haemophilic globulin (AHG) life changing for haemophiliacs
  • Australia became the first country to produce AHG and processed the highest production per capita in the world
  • We began the management of tissue typing, which formed the foundation of today’s nationwide organ matching service