Many people have donated blood in their lifetime. This blood is not only used for transfusions, but to provide blood components to treat a number of diseases and to conduct research geared to develop new diagnostic and treatment strategies. To obtain specific blood components, the technique of apheresis is used. This procedure is the means to separate blood into its various components so that the desired one is removed. Then, the rest of the components are placed back into the donor’s circulation.
Apheresis is the general term, but additional prefixes are applied to specify which component is removed from the blood. Apheresis products such as platelets are removed by the process of plateletpheresis. Erythropheresis refers to the removal of red blood cells. Leukapheresis (also spelled leukopheresis) refers to the removal of leukocytes (white blood cells). Hemacare specializes more in plateletpheresis and leukapheresis. We collect apheresis products called leukopaks for our customers. We also further isolate specific cell types from leukopaks.
To obtain apheresis products, blood passed from a donor or patient’s vein is passed through a special piece of medical equipment called an apheresis machine or blood component extractor. The blood is separated by filtration or centrifugation. The entire process is painless and takes about as long as a conventional blood donation. However, precautions are taken to determine who should or should not undergo apheresis. For instance, those with low white blood cell and platelet counts are not recommended for the procedure. It is also avoided with those with infections and other blood, heart, and lung conditions.
Numerous medical conditions and diseases are treated using apheresis products including leukemia or other myeloproliferative disorders, severe vasculitis, serious rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus complications, high-risk organ transplant rejection, and more. The availability of apheresis products has revolutionized immunotherapeutic and other medical approaches, as well as enhanced biomedical research to develop new medical strategies to increase quality of life and improve the ability to cure chronic and other diseases.
If you are in need of high quality leukopaks for your biomedical research, HemaCare can supply you with customizable products to meet your requirements. To learn more, contact us at 877-397-3087 today.
Reference: Conrad Stöppler, MD, Melissa. "Apheresis: Facts On Platelet Donation Procedures". MedicineNet. N.p., 2017. Web. 8 Mar. 2017.