What is Plasma?
Plasma is the yellowish liquid part of human blood which accounts for 55% of the total blood volume. Plasma is composed mostly of water (90-92%) but also contains a small amount of other substances including a range of vital proteins. These proteins are used to produce plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMPs) that are essential to treat a variety of life-threatening rare plasma related disorders. Such proteins include immunoglobulins, coagulation factors, alpha-1 antitrypsin and albumin among others.
In order to produce life-saving PDMPs, a sufficient amount of plasma, the raw material, is required. As demand for immunoglobulin therapies in particular has witnessed a continued growth for a number of years and is set to continue to surge, an increasing amount of plasma needs to be collected.
What kind of proteins are in human Plasma?
- Albumin (stabilizer of the blood pressure)
- Immunoglobulins (antibodies that fight against bacteria and viruses)
- Antitrypsin (an acute phase protein, which protects the lungs)
- Clotting factors and fibrinogen (which stops bleeding)
- Various proteins of defense (complement C3 among others)
There are two procedures to collect plasma and plasma can categorized in two broad categories including source plasma (or apheresis plasma) and recovered plasma.
- SOURCE PLASMA is collected directly from plasma donors through a process called plasmapheresis (plasma is separated from the blood, including red blood cells and platelets which are returned to the donor). Because plasma regenerates quicker than blood, plasma donors can donate larger quantities of plasma, much more often.
- RECOVERED PLASMA is obtained from blood donors (the plasma and other blood components are separated after the whole blood donation)