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Title: The Development of the IBM Blood Cell Separator and Blood Cell Processor


1
The Development of the IBM Blood Cell Separator
and Blood Cell Processor by Alan Jones
IBM 2991 Blood Cell Processor
IBM 2990 Blood Cell Separator
2
Note This presentation will run unattended. But,
at any time, you can move forward and backwards
using the mouse or the Page Up and Page Down keys.
3
The IBM blood cell project began when engineer
George Judson's son, Tom, was diagnosed with
leukemia in 1962.
4
The IBM blood cell project began when engineer
George Judson's son, Tom, was diagnosed with
leukemia in 1962. Tom was admitted as a patient
at the National Institutes of Health. At the
National Cancer Institute, which is one of the
institutes of NIH, George saw a process for
removing white cells from a patient.
5
The IBM blood cell project began when engineer
George Judson's son, Tom, was diagnosed with
leukemia in 1962. Tom was admitted as a patient
at the National Institutes of Health. At the
National Cancer Institute, which is one of the
institutes of NIH, George saw a process for
removing white cells from a patient. It was very
laborious for the patient and the staff. He
suggested that this could be done on a continuous
flow basis.
6
The IBM blood cell project began when engineer
George Judson's son, Tom, was diagnosed with
leukemia in 1962. Tom was admitted as a patient
at the National Institutes of Health. At the
National Cancer Institute, which is one of the
institutes of NIH, George saw a process for
removing white cells from a patient. It was very
laborious for the patient and the staff. He
suggested that this could be done on a continuous
flow basis. The doctor sent him upstairs to Dr.
Emil J. Friedrich who thought this was a great
idea.
7
The IBM blood cell project began when engineer
George Judson's son, Tom, was diagnosed with
leukemia in 1962. Tom was admitted as a patient
at the National Institutes of Health. At the
National Cancer Institute, which is one of the
institutes of NIH, George saw a process for
removing white cells from a patient. It was very
laborious for the patient and the staff. He
suggested that this could be done on a continuous
flow basis. The doctor sent him upstairs to Dr.
Emil J. Friedrich who thought this was a great
idea. George returned to IBM and received
permission to work on it. Lab Director Jim Troy
also said he would provide engineering support.
8
Technical challenges facing George Judson
  • A system for removing blood and returning to the
    patient.
  • A centrifuge design to separate the components
  • A rotating seal to allow the blood and components
    to enter and leave the bowl without damage.

9
And the REALLY big challenge
  • How to get a parking permit!
  • The problem was that he did not have a title. The
    people at the National Institutes of Health
    created a new title Guest Scientist.
  • With this title, he was able to get a parking
    permit.

10
The Blood Cell Separator circa 1963
11
How George worked
  • He would spend two weeks at a time at NIH in
    Bethesda.
  • On his return, he would meet Harry Crampton in
    the parking lot and give him drawings.
  • Harry would give him parts from the previous
    visit.
  • George would return to DC and assemble his
    experimental equipment.

12
Some basic facts about blood
  • Almost half of your blood is made up of red blood
    cells. They carry oxygen.
  • Most of the rest is a clear, yellowish liquid
    plasma.
  • About 1 is white blood cells and platelets.
  • White cells help you fight infection and reject
    foreign material.
  • Platelets aid in clotting.

13
This is George's first blood pump. It was from a
heart-lung machine. I have no idea where he got
it. I do know it was a bear to load and unload.
It works by squeezing the tube. It's called a
peristalic pump.
14
George's first centrifuge. You can see the
heart-lung blood pump in the background. He
called this his "Flower pot design."
15
After a year and a half of work
  • The results were so promising that the National
    Cancer Institute gave IBM a contract for
    development of a blood cell separator.
  • The NCI contract started in January 1964.
  • His machine had been run on patients 55 times.

16
1993 machine before beginning work on National
Cancer Institute contract.
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19
This is George's second-stage centrifuge. It was
a density-gradient machine. Cells would be
separated based on their density.
20
This is the flow model that George constructed.
It allowed the engineers to view the separation
process. A strobe light flashed once for each
revolution.
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23
A pump for the flow model
24
Cross-section of the 1963 centrifuge
25
The new bowl design
26
Announcement of the National Cancer Institute
Blood Cell Separator
  • October 19, 1965
  • Met Dr. James Pert, Director of Research at the
    American Red Cross.
  • He asked us if the machine could be used for
    deglyceroling red blood cells. We had never heard
    of this application.
  • George assigned me the task of evaluating this.
    This led to the IBM 2991 Blood Cell Processor.
    More on this later.

27
In October 1965, NCI announced the NCI Blood Cell
Separator.
28
At 1965 announcement of NCI Blood Cell Separator.
From left Seymour Perry (NCI), Alan Jones (IBM),
George Judson (IBM), Robert Greenwald (NCI)
29
George Judson with centrifuge bowl, circa 1970.
In 1966, George was named an IBM Fellow, the
highest technical position in the company. It
meant he could work on any project of his
choosing. He chose to continue his medical work.
30
Members of the IBM 2990 Blood Cell Separator
Project, circa 1968
Front Bob Kellogg, Mary Chen, Pat Birchill,
Marian Hess, George Judson Back Rick Bierstock,
Harry Crampton, Vic Kruger, Max Treziak, Joe
Huth, John Wolf, Alan Jones, John Williams, Harry
Dunn, Walt Smith, Jack Martin, Dick Truex,
Wendell Wheeler, Charlie Tesori, Fred Tapner
31
The rotating seal
  • The rotating seal remained a problem. Blood
    products would coat the lands which increased
    friction.
  • Bob Kellogg returned from an IBM Resident Study
    program at Johns Hopkins with a Ph.D. in fluid
    flow.
  • He designed a new seal which had a ceramic lower
    seal running against an upper stainless steel
    member.
  • Saline, under pressure, lubricated the lands.

32
The IBM 2990 Blood Cell Separator
  • A doctor in New York City asked IBM to build him
    a Blood Cell Separator.
  • IBM replied that the doctor could obtain the
    plans since they were in the public domain and
    build one 90
  • himself.
  • He was very unhappy and contacted Tom Watson.
  • Watson told IBM Endicott to build the doctor a
    machine.
  • An interesting note The first two digits of the
    type number, '29' are the IBM Endicott RPQ
    number. RPQ means Request Price Quotation. In
    other words, a special product.

33
The IBM Blood Cell Separator "assembly line"
  • IBM decided if one person wanted a Blood Cell
    Separator, maybe several did.
  • A mini-market survey was done. It was determined
    that about 15 could be sold.
  • Lee Bodie set up a production line to make
    machines.
  • Eventually IBM made and sold about 60 of the IBM
    2990 Blood Cell Separators.

34
Lee Bodie set up a production line for the 2990
Blood Cell Separator.Photo taken in 2007 at
Vestal Library presentation on Blood machines.
35
The IBM 2990 Blood Cell Separator
36
Installing Blood Cell Separator in Rome, Italy
37
Development of theIBM 2991 Blood Cell Processor
  • Exploratory work began in 1965 after Dr. Pert of
    the Red Cross asked if we could develop a machine
    to deglycerolize frozen/thawed red blood cells.
  • After a lot of experimentation, we came up with
    the scheme shown on the next pages.

38
From my notebook. January 1966I couldn't see
why George Judson didn't like the idea.
39
It really was a lousy idea
  • It didn't take long to realize we couldn't have
    the blood bag in a bucket of water.
  • A flexible membrane would be used.
  • But how could we simulate this? The rotating seal
    we had available didn't have enough ports.
  • Someone suggested to use the same port for input
    and output and agitate in-between.
  • The key ingredient was in place!

40
In 1969, George worked at the Dutch Red Cross for
several months
  • He wanted to see if the separator could be used
    in a blood bank environment.
  • I reminded him of my idea.
  • I brought him up-to-date about the fact that the
    blood bag would not be down in a bucket of water
    but would be laid on top of a rubber membrane.
  • He asked me to make up parts and send to him.

41
My wife, Barbara, suggested using one of our
kid's rubber punch bag. I made up parts like
these and mailed them to George in Holland.
42
Development begins!
  • When George returned, he said the Dutch were
    excited about the idea.
  • He then embarked on something new An IBM Fellow
    planning on developing a product.
  • We built a bench model.

43
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44
We learned as we went along
  • The split cover would open slightly allowing the
    bag to extrude under the hydrostatic g-forces.
  • We found that our hydraulic fluid, oil, was
    lighter than blood and would move to the center
    thus pinching off the bag.
  • The membrane we used at first was permeable to
    oil. In the morning it was covered with oil.

45
We replaced the split cover with a screw-on cover
which was much stronger.
As you can see, by this time we had added timers,
valves, and other controls. This was our B-test
model. It would do all the same functions as the
final machine. We reached this stage in early
1972.
46
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47
The big remaining problem was the seal!
  • We were now in Product Test and they were about
    to throw us out if we couldn't fix it.
  • George asked me to stay after work one night to
    do what he liked to call scheming.
  • In a few hours that evening and with refinements
    over the next week, we came up with the seal that
    is still being used today and being made by the
    millions.

48
This is the drawing I made for the patent
disclosure. The key to the design was the latex
tubing that kept the seal surfaces tight together
when not in the machine and allowed the lower
seal to raise up off of its seat when in the
machine under a weight.
49
Initial transparent model made by Carl Wolff so
we could see what was happening inside.
50
More on the seal
  • As good as the seal was, there remained some
    problems.
  • Techniques had to be developed to manufacture it
    in quantity.
  • It had to be made for 1.00.
  • The seal was subject to occasional leaks due to
    the curvature of the latex.

51
The seal years later
  • Many years later, after the project was sold to
    Cobe Labs, the president visited to obtain
    information to fight a civil case.
  • He saw a remark in my notebook that the latex
    should be replaced by a molded silicon piece.
  • He said, Why didn't you do that. It would have
    saved us millions of dollars!?

52
George in Holland with test machine.
53
The IBM 2991 Blood Cell Processor was announced
at the annual American Association of Blood Banks
Meeting in Washington, DC in September 1972
54
IBM set up a marketing and manufacturing group at
their former, Information Records Division
location, in Princeton, NJ.The night before the
opening of the AABB meeting, one IBM salesman
offered the opinion to his manager that they
shouldn't wear white shirts.The manager
replied, A white shirt never offended
anyone.They all showed up in white shirts.
55
The 2991 Blood Cell Processor team
Marion Heiss, Leo Berzinski, Dick Jones, Bob
Kellogg, Harry Cramption, Vic Krueger, Alan
Jones, Caas Kivhoven (Holland), Jim Aikens, John
Williams, Wayne Krupa, Jim Harvelchuck, Carl
Wolff, ?, Les Gumo, Fran McLoughlin
56
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59
This was part of the IBM advertising campaign.
The marketing was done from the former Supplies
Division in Princeton, NJ.
60
The following slides show how the Blood Cell
Processor is used.These photos were taken at the
Pittsburgh Blood Bank
61
To start process, blood is drawn the normal way.
62
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65
The Technicon machine determined the blood type
for each unit of blood processed.
66
The blood is separated into red cells and plasma.
67
The blood is allowed to flow into a Teflon
freezing bag at the same time that glycerol is
added. The technique of freezing red blood cells
in glycerol was developed after glycerol was
discovered to work for freezing bull sperm.
68
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70
When needed, the red cells are thawed.
71
The thawed cells are diluted with a salt solution.
72
The thawed, diluted cells run into the IBM Blood
Cell Processor by gravity. The machine is then
started.
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77
The IBM 2997 Blood Cell Separator
  • The IBM Blood Cell Processor was now in the
    market and doing well. However, we knew that the
    Blood Cell Separator could be improved.
  • It's main problem was that the bowl was not
    disposable.
  • An effort was launched to provide a separator
    with all materials disposable that came in
    contact with Blood.

78
The IBM 2997 Blood Cell Separator.
79
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81
Is a rotating seal necessary?
  • You would think that the answer to this question
    is obvious.
  • Not so! There is a way to get blood into a
    rotating centrifuge and its components out
    without crossing a rotating seal!
  • Can you think how this can be done?
  • Bob Kellogg and his team figured it out.
  • They devised a harness that rotated like a
    cowboy's lariat so that the system was always
    sealed.

82
IBM sells its medical group
  • An automatic ECG reading machine had been
    introduced that was developed at IBM Yorktown
    Height.
  • The medical effort was not making normal IBM
    profits
  • The entire group was sold to Cobe Labs in 1984.
  • The next slides show the Cobe web sites
    advertising the machines.

83
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84
From the Cobe Labs web pageNotice all the uses
for the 2991 that we never thought of.
85
The Cobe Spectra Apheresis System evolved from
the IBM work
86
And now for the rest of the story
  • George Judson Died in 1992. The Blood Cell
    Processor was used on him during an operation.
  • Kay Judson, George's wife lives near Burlington ,
    VT
  • Son, Tom Judson died of leukemia, summer 1964
  • Son, Jim Judson, died in auto accident summer
    1965
  • Daughter, Karen Judson lives in Burlington, VT
  • Daughter, Betsy Judson lives in Cody, WY

87
Talk on Blood Machines at Vestal Museum,
September 2007
Bob Kellogg with his children Bob and Karen.
88
October 2007 American Association of Blood Bank
award for development of the IBM 2991 Blood Cell
Processor presented to Alan Jones, Bob Kellogg,
and Vic Kruger.
89
What started out as a tragedy for a family, ended
up helping many people with conditions very
different from those for which George intended
the machines.This is often the way that science
advances. We should keep ourselves alert for
those serendipity moments.
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