Plasma & Blood
Plasma-derived therapies provide life-saving treatments for a range of rare, chronic, often genetic diseases including hemophilia, primary immunodeficiencies, and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, as well as and serious medical conditions such as burns and shock.
There are many people in need of blood and plasma donations throughout the U.S. and the world. Blood and plasma donations are a great charitable service and are easily understood: donations save lives. The plasma protein therapeutics industry encourages donation in all of its forms. To ensure an adequate blood and plasma supply to meet patients’ needs, it is important that all healthy, eligible people donate regularly.
It is important to understand that plasma therapies are intrinsically different from blood components such as red cells
, thrombocytes (platelets), and so on, obtained from a whole blood
donation. These differences center on the way plasma is collected, as well as in the production process of plasma protein therapies and how it is used. In contrast to whole blood and blood components, donated source plasma is not directly used for transfusion medicine at local hospitals, but rather undergoes an elaborate and well controlled manufacturing process to create life-saving therapies.
The following facts highlight some of the principle differences between the two.
What Is Plasma?
- It is a clear, straw colored liquid that is 90 percent water.
- Plasma is a transporting medium for cells and a variety of substances vital to the human body. Importantly, plasma contains proteins for blood clotting and defending the body against infection.
- Source plasma is collected in specialized donation centers located across the U.S. and Europe.
- Recovered plasma is collected through whole blood donation, which has been separated into its cellular components (red blood cells and platelets) to be used for different medical and therapeutic purposes.
- Used to manufacture life-saving therapies for people with rare, chronic diseases and disorders or those undergoing major surgery or suffering from severe burns and shock.
What is Whole Blood?
Whole blood is pumped by the heart and travels through miles of blood vessels to every part of the body. It is a highly specialized liquid that circulates throughout the body for the following purposes:
- Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to cells.
- White blood cells help prevent disease and strengthen immunity.
- Blood platelets allow blood to clot and stop the body from bleeding when cut or during surgery.
- Plasma makes up the liquid portion of the blood in which the other cells and rich proteins are suspended. It is roughly 55 percent of a human's total blood volume.
- Used most typically locally in hospitals for blood transfusions for individuals undergoing surgery, chemotherapy patients, those suffering from trauma.