Plasma donation exists so that lifesaving plasma therapies can be created from this protein-rich liquid. Ever since the healing properties of plasma were discovered many moons ago, it has been used as a starting material in the manufacturing of commercial drugs known as plasma products. Here’s everything you need to know about the drugs that can be manufactured from plasma.
How Plasma Is Made Into Manufactured Drugs
The process of taking source plasma from donors and turning it into a product that can be used safely is highly complex and takes a total of 7-12 months. After plasma is collected from donors through automated apheresis, it is thoroughly tested and held in inventory for at least 60 days to allow for the revival and destruction of donations that cannot be used.
Donated plasma that is deemed eligible for the manufacturing of therapies is broken down into individual proteins via a process called “fractionation”. During this process, a combination of heat treatments, chemical cleaners, pasteurization, filtration, and acid treatments are used to effectively remove any viruses or contaminants. Product samples are then tested once more before they are released.
Prevalent Plasma Products
Albumin is a water-soluble protein that is produced by the liver and circulates in plasma, making up a total of half of the protein content in this liquid. Medicinal albumin is made from source plasma that is heated to inactivate disease-causing agents. It helps to increase levels of albumin in the blood and overall plasma volume, making it an ideal treatment for fluid loss in burn patients, trauma patients, and transplant recipients.
2. Clotting Factors
This replacement therapy is typically used to replace missing blood clotting factors for individuals that have bleeding disorders like Hemophilia. Clotting factor concentrates are injected into veins and help to normalize blood clotting, which prevents unwanted bleeding episodes that can result in severe blood loss and complications. (Note: In Canada, it’s more common for Hemophilia patients to be treated using recombinant products that are made from recombinant DNA technology in a lab.)
3. Immune Globulins
This category of drugs has the highest demand of all plasma products. Immune globulin (Ig) products are pooled from plasma collected from various donors and contain antibodies that can effectively treat immune disorders and severe infections. Ig products are usually administered intravenously as a replacement therapy.
The true healing properties of plasma are still being discovered, and we have just scratched the surface when it comes to the ways in which plasma can be used. There will certainly be new plasma manufactured drugs created as we discover more about this liquid’s healing properties. While plasma has yet to be explored in its entirety, one thing’s for sure, the demand for plasma is here to stay.
To make a difference in the life of someone living with an autoimmune condition or autoimmune deficiency, book your next Canadian Plasma Resources appointment today.