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.
Leukapheresis is a procedure to separate white bloods cells (including dendritic and progenitor cells) from a blood sample. Products obtained from leukapharesis procedures, leukopaks, are regularly used in the research setting. They are also used for cell therapy process development and clinically for certain treatment procedures for blood disorders. Another way to obtain white blood cells and platelets is to obtain them from the buffy coat.
Lipotransfers are ideal for restorative surgery, but retention is a problem. HemaCare provided the platelets for a study examining just how platelet-rich plasma helps make the fat stick around.
In this age of crash diets and liposuction, it might sound surprising that some people receive fat transplants. But seriously, fat grafting is widely used and valued as a feasible method for addressing moderate defects caused by injuries, surgical removal of tumors, and congenital deficiencies. Fat grafting is safe and has the look and feel of normal soft tissue. However, long-term volume retention is suboptimal (30-70%), often requiring multiple surgeries.
Recent findings of a phase II clinical trial of imetelstat, a telomerase inhibitor, demonstrate that it could be a promising treatment approach for patients with essential thrombocythemia, which raises platelets to dangerous levels.
Myeloproliferative neoplasms are a group of disorders caused by an overproduction of a particular blood cell type. For example, essential thrombocythemia (ET) causes an abnormal increase in the number of platelets produced in the blood and bone marrow. Although most patients have a normal life expectancy, ET may develop into acute myeloid leukemia. Currently available drugs help manage symptoms and offer protection from heart attack or strokes, but more treatment options are necessary for those patients who are not responsive or who experienced adverse side effects.
Apheresis units of stem cells used for transplantation in cancer patients do not all have the same potency. Does your collection center measure up?