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rare disease

rare disease

janvier 4, 2021

Donated plasma is used to create a variety of life-saving pharmaceutical products that treat patients with immune deficiencies, bleeding disorders, and other ailments. The wide range of uses for this yellowish liquid component of blood is the reason it is often referred to as “liquid gold”. 

In today’s blog, we’ll be unpacking the three main medications that are manufactured from the plasma collected at our centres. Keep reading to find out what they are!

Plasma Product #1: Human Albumin

Albumin is a protein made by the liver that circulates in human plasma. It helps keep fluid in your bloodstream and carries substances including hormones, vitamins, and enzymes throughout your body.

Medicinal albumin, which is composed of plasma proteins from human blood, helps increase the volume of blood plasma. It can also replenish levels of albumin. Medicinal albumin is mainly used to treat or prevent shock that is brought on by severe burns, serious injury, bleeding, or surgery. Other ailments that albumin is capable of treating include abdominal infections, dialysis, liver failure, pancreatitis, and respiratory distress.

Plasma Product #2: Intratect

This brand of immunoglobulin G-prepared treatments is more commonly known as intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is the most common antibody in blood and other bodily fluids. It plays a vital role in protecting the body against bacterial and viral infections. During the Intratect manufacturing process, the functional activity of IgG is maintained and high standards of purity and viral safety are adhered to.

As with other IVIg therapies, Intratect is administered intravenously by a doctor or nurse. It is used in patients who do not have a sufficient amount of antibodies. This includes patients who are born with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDDs) and those with secondary immunodeficiencies who suffer from severe and/or recurrent infections. Intratect can also be used to treat inflammatory disorders including chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), Guillain-Barre syndrome, Kawasaki disease, primary immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), and multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN).

Plasma Product #3: Haemoctin

Haemoctin is a plasma-derived medicine that contains the coagulation factor VIII. Coagulation factors are a group of related proteins that help the body form blood clots after injury, therefore preventing further blood loss. Coagulation factor VIII, which is mostly made by cells in the liver, plays an integral part in the blood clotting process.

Patients with haemophilia, an inherited genetic disorder that is characterized by an impaired ability to form blood clots, have either a mutated version of coagulation factor VIII or reduced amounts of this essential protein. Haemoctin can be used to treat and prevent bleeding in patients with haemophilia A.

Human plasma is capable of incredible things, and these products are just a few of the treatments that are manufactured from CPR-collected plasma. To donate your plasma and contribute to the creation of life-changing plasma products, book your next appointment at Canadian Plasma Resources today!

rare disease

décembre 22, 2020

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a rare autoimmune disorder that targets the body’s nerves. It is the most common form of chronic autoimmune neuropathy, and it is one of many disorders that can be treated using plasma products. Keep reading to learn more about CIDP and how blood plasma is used to manage this condition.

Symptoms of CIDP

Symptoms of CIDP progress slowly and occur over the course of at least two months. Chief symptoms of CIDP can include:

  • Impaired motor function
  • Loss of balance and your ability to walk
  • Loss of sensation in your arms and legs
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Tingling sensations or in your arms and legs
  • The gradual weakening of your arms and legs

Other symptoms may include burning, clumsiness, pain, fatigue, difficulty swallowing, and double vision. 

Causes of CIDP

Anyone can get CIDP, but people in their 50s and 60s are more likely to develop it. Men are also twice as likely as women to get this autoimmune disorder. Experts haven’t identified why people get CIDP, but what is known is that it is caused by inflammation of the nerves and nerve roots.

When someone has CIDP, their body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheaths, which are the protective covering around nerve cells. This can damage nerve fibres and impair the nerves’ ability to send signals.

Diagnosis of CIDP

CIDP is a rare disorder, which means it can be difficult to diagnose. There’s no test available that diagnosis CIDP, so doctors typically ask patients questions about their symptoms and conduct a thorough physical examination. Doctors may also do blood and urine tests, a nerve conduction study or a lumbar puncture, which is a procedure that involves extracting a small sample of your cerebrospinal fluid in an effort to detect elevated levels of specific proteins that are associated with CIDP.

Healthcare providers sometimes confuse symptoms of CIDP with those of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), which is another illness that causes nerve problems. However, unlike GBS, CIDP isn’t brought on by an illness. CIDP also tends to be a longer-term problem.

Treatment of CIDP

Early treatment is extremely important for patients who have CIDP, and it is critical to preventing irreversible damage. The sooner a patient begins treatment, the better their chances are of a full recovery. Common treatments for CIDP include steroids, plasma exchange (plasmapheresis), and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg).

Plasma exchange is used to remove immune system proteins that may be contributing to nerve damage from the blood. This treatment method has proven to be effective in up to 80% of patients.

Intravenous immunoglobulin, which is a plasma product composed of antibodies from donors, is used to mitigate the effects of an individual’s immune response. It is most effective in patients who have had symptoms of CIDP for less than a year and/or present acute symptoms of the disorder. IVIg is often used in combination with steroid treatments.

CIDP is a disorder that exemplifies just how life-changing plasma products can be. With early intervention, patients can lead relatively normal lives and avoid permanent physical impairments. If you’d like to help create therapies for patients in need, book an appointment at Canadian Plasma Resources today! Every donation helps.

rare disease

juillet 19, 2019

Plasma is a yellow liquid component of blood that contains life-saving proteins. The proteins in plasma can help to treat a number of rare autoimmune diseases. One such disease is Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1).

In today’s blog, we’ll be unpacking everything you need to know about alpha-1 and the important role plasma plays in treating this disease.

Causes of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

Alpha-1, also known as AAT, is a genetic disorder that is passed down from parents to children when both parents carry abnormal genes. An alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency occurs when mutations in the SERPINA1 gene, a gene that provides instructions for making alpha-1 antitrypsin proteins, occur.

The alpha-1 protein is essential to good health as it protects the body from neutrophil elastase, a powerful enzyme that gets released from white blood cells to fight infection. When neutrophil elastase is not controlled by alpha-1, it can attack normal tissues.  

Symptoms of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

Symptoms and signs of alpha-1 can vary greatly among individuals. Some people living with the condition get their first symptoms in childhood, while others don’t experience any symptoms until they are 60 years old. The organs that are most commonly affected by Alpha-1 are the liver, lungs, and skin.

Here are the symptoms those with an alpha-1 deficiency may experience according to affected organs:

  • Liver: Fatigue, swelling of belly or legs, loss of appetite and weight loss, jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin or eyes), blood in stool, and/or vomiting blood.
  • Lungs: Numerous lung infections, excessive coughing and phlegm production, wheezing, shortness of breath, and/or low energy.
  • Skin: Painful lumps under skin that are warm to the touch.

An alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency may eventually cause liver disease or lung disease.

Diagnosis of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is typically diagnosed by a doctor that will check for signs your lungs aren’t working correctly and ask about other common symptoms of the disease. A blood test that checks for mutations in the SERPINA1 gene and levels of protein in the bloodstream is needed to confirm Alpha-1 diagnoses.

Treatment of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

There is no cure for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, but the disease can be managed via augmentation therapy (or “replacement therapy”). In augmentation therapy, plasma from healthy donors is used to increase levels of alpha-1 in the blood and lungs of those who have the condition. Plasma protein is administered through intravenous infusion on a weekly basis.

The goal of augmentation therapy is to slow or stop damage to affected organs. The therapy cannot reverse damage already incurred, but it can improve quality of life. Alphas have to undergo these treatments throughout the rest of their life.

The importance of having enough plasma to treat those living with conditions like alpha-1 cannot be emphasized enough. More than 900 plasma donations are required each year to treat one Alpha-1 patient. At Canadian Plasma Resources, we do everything in our power to provide the plasma needed for these lifesaving treatments. Not only do our donors leave our centres with the satisfaction of knowing they’ve saved a life, they are also compensated for their time.

Book your next appointment today!