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Reporting from the AABB: What’s the Future of Therapeutic Apheresis?

Dec 17, 2014 1:00:30 PM / by James Sanchez

Standard apheresis equipment is soon to be supplanted. What are the advantages in the next generation?

At HemaCare, we are devoted to keeping up-to-date with emerging trends in bioresearch. That was one reason that you could find us at the latest annual meeting of the American Association of Blood Banks, which took place last October in Philadelphia.

apheresis Large platelets viewed under a microscope. One of the features of next-generation apheresis equipment is that more platelets are sent back to the patient. Image credit:

One point of interest was as follows: For therapeutic apheresis, in which blood is taken and then a portion is returned (to either the same person or another), what does the future hold? Specifically, what will be the equipment of choice? At the moment, many researchers employ Terumo's COBE Spectra Apheresis System. But there is change in the air. As attendee Patricia Barton, Director of Therapeutics at HemaCare, explains:

“We have new technology coming in. And so AABB had speakers discussing their experiences with the new technology, because not everyone has it at this point in time, but in the next couple years, everyone will have to switch over.”

At the AABB meeting, Dr. Shanna Morgan of the University of Minnesota Medical Center discussed properties of the Amicus Separator, provided by Fenwal, while Dr. Anand Padmanabhan presented on Terumo's new Spectra Optia.

One of the most attractive features of the new machines is that they give cleaner products; "contaminants" such as red blood cells are in lower amounts. The volumes are more concentrated, too, which facilitates storage. Automation and user-friendly features were noted, as well. What's more, the next-generation equipment is safer to the extent that they spare platelets, sending more of them back to the patient.

HemaCare appreciated the opportunity to attend this helpful discussion at the AABB which took a look at the old standby for apheresis, as well as the "new blood" that promises to be widely used in the very near future. In HemaCare's experience, all three systems feature advantages, as well as drawbacks. In any event, we are proud to provide donor-supplied material, including platelets, plasma, and serum, to name a few.

Topics: Apheresis, Cell Therapy, Platelets, Red Blood Cells, Serum, Plasma

James Sanchez

Written by James Sanchez

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