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Tissue grafts can save lives. This local agency distributed 1 million of them in 2022

people in blue protective gear work in a lab setting.
Community Tissue Services
CBC/CTS is celebrating distributing one million tissue grafts, known as allografts, in 2022.

Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services is celebrating a historic milestone — the agency distributed a record one million tissue grafts in 2022 alone.

The Kettering-based organization completed the record-setting allograft Dec. 6 after announcing late last month it was expecting to reach the milestone soon.

Often people who need skin grafts don't have enough of their own skin and must rely on skin donated by a person upon their death. That's known as a skin allograft.

"This is the first time in Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services (CBC/CTS) history that we've distributed one million allografts in a single year," says CTS Director of Business Development Paul Lehner. "We've come very close — last year we were around 960,000 — so we've had our eye on this milestone for a couple years now. It's just a significant milestone in our history to cross, that one million grafts distributed in a single year."

The organization, founded in 1986, has grown and expanded its services as scientific developments have opened new uses and demands in fields such as sports medicine, orthopedic, dental and burn care have increased. Grafts can be life-saving for burn patients, accident victims, injured athletes and others who require allograft surgeries.

"Our grafts are used predominantly in the United States, but we do have partners that we work with globally to distribute our products, our allografts, in other countries as well," Lehner adds.

One tissue donor has the potential to provide up to 125 allografts.

"That's through a single donation of tissue after death," Lehner points out. "One person can change the lives of 125 other people, which is really just extraordinary. The fact that we've been able to get to this point is really significant. It speaks to the size of our organization and the hard work of our dedicated employees. We have over 1,200 employees now that helped us reach this milestone."

You can register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at RegisterMe.org.

In October, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it's partnering with CBC/CTS on a donor skin inventory. It's supported by Project BioShield funds from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of HHS' Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response. CTS is working with BARDA to create and maintain an inventory of skin allografts that are available in the event of a mass casualty emergency involving burns from chemicals, nuclear or radiological incidents or bombs.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.