Learn what power
Your plasma holds
What is plasma?
Believe it or not, plasma is actually the main component in blood. It’s a clear, straw-colored liquid that remains after all the other elements–like platelets and red and white blood cells–are removed. It is the single largest component of human blood, representing more than half of the makeup of your blood.
Plasma plays a bunch of important roles in your body, including helping to clot your blood, fight diseases, and other vital functions. Plasma can be collected from the human body (through a process called plasmapheresis) to be used exclusively in manufacturing certain life saving therapies and medications. When healthy donors voluntarily provide plasma for these purposes, they are often compensated for their time commitment, as plasmapheresis can take over an hour. On average, plasma donation takes about 45 minutes so make sure you allow for ample time for your donation appointment.
Your blood is:
Red blood cells
White blood cells
Which makes plasma is the single largest component of human blood, comprising about 55 percent, and contains water, salts, enzymes, antibodies and other proteins.
Your plasma is:
The proteins in plasma carry out a variety of functions in the body, including clotting blood, fighting diseases and other critical functions.
Importance of donation
Only a small number of people living in the U.S. who are eligible to donate blood plasma actually donate. As a result, there is a great need for donors to continue to show up and donate blood plasma in order to continue to produce life saving therapies and treatments. In fact, hundreds of donations are needed to treat just one patient in a calendar year, which is why plasma donation is in high demand.
Donations Needed to Treat One Patient for One Year
Primary immunodeficiency disease
Alpha-1 Antitrypsin deficiency
Numbers are based on a 150 lbs. adult for one year.
There are only about 1,000 licensed donation centers located in the U.S., Canada, and Europe that specialize in plasmapheresis, the special process of collecting plasma via blood donation. During plasmapheresis, whole blood is removed from the donor’s body, the plasma is removed, and then the rest of the blood components are placed back into the body.
All blood plasma donation companies have to follow the same government regulations, however, each company is free to manage their operations as they see fit. In addition to American centers having to meet the regulatory requirements laid out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), PPTA member plasma donation centers are also certified by the International Quality Plasma Program (IQPP), which is a rigorous, voluntary program that goes beyond regulatory requirements to help ensure donor safety and further improve the quality of source plasma used during the manufacturing of life-saving plasma therapies and interventions. B Positive Plasma operates our centers under these regulatory standards, making every effort to ensure the safety of our donors and the end recipient of the plasma-derived products.
Just as plasma is separated from the other blood components during the donation process, plasma itself is further broken down in a manufacturing process called fractionation. The fractionation process separates plasma proteins in order to create a variety of plasma protein therapies. Purification techniques like precipitation, centrifugation, separation and filtration are all used during the plasma manufacturing process.
Since the discovery of the fractionation process by Dr. Edwin Cohn in the 1940s, the manufacturing process has evolved to accommodate the growing pharmaceutical industry. To ensure the highest safety measures, plasma proteins undergo different viral inactivation, purification methods, and removal processes. It can take anywhere from 7 to 12 months for plasma to be manufactured into medicinal products for patients in need.
In addition, fractionators invest substantially in research and technologies to increase the quality of proteins extracted from plasma, known as the "yield," and create new and more effective therapies.
Fractionation is the general process of separating the different components of blood plasma, with a main focus on the proteins. Plasma contains a large number of proteins, including albumin, immunoglobulins, and clotting proteins. Many of the proteins found in plasma are used in life-saving therapies for a variety of health conditions or illnesses.
Believe it or not, it can take up to 12 months to turn your plasma into a therapeutic treatment for a patient in need. This is due to the fact that the plasma manufacturing process is complex, especially since there are so many quality and health standards that have to be met in order to take a therapy or medication to market.
In addition to treating people with bleeding and clotting disorders, and autoimmune conditions, blood plasma is also used in tetanus and rabies treatments. Additionally, blood plasma therapies are used to treat pregnant women with Rh sensitization, preventing fetal brain damage and death.
Plasma uses in everyday medicine
In addition to helping those with rare, chronic diseases, plasma protein therapies are used in everyday medicine, emergencies, and surgical medicine, as well as preventative medicine to treat the following: