People in and around Croydon have begun donating blood plasma for medicines for the first time in more than 20 years.
The plasma will be used to make antibody-based medicines – called immunoglobulins – for people with rare immune diseases.
Croydon plasma donor centre is one of the 14 NHS Blood and Transplant donor centres around England now taking donations, for an initial three month period.
Thousands of patients rely on immunoglobulin medicines for short-term or lifelong diseases and genetic disorders.
Around 1,100 of these patients are on the South London patient panels.
With rising demand across the world for these medicines there is a global supply shortage.
These donations will bolster the supply chain and improve the self-sufficiency of the UK in producing its own treatments.
They will be taken at repurposed former convalescent plasma donor centres, originally created for coronavirus research.
Christina Leaver, Croydon Plasma Donor Centre Manager, said: “Like blood donation, plasma donation will be altruistic, for the benefit of the NHS and we’re here ready to collect it.
“We’re asking people, if contacted by us, please donate plasma for medicines – you will save and transform lives.”
More than 300 people have donated in the two weeks since collection started, and over 150 people are booked in to donate this week at Croydon plasma donor centre, which is in the Centrale Shopping Centre on North End.
The antibody medicines are used to treat people with weak immune systems and a variety of other rare disorders.
- Immune disorders such as Common Variable Immune Deficiency
- Neurological disorders such as Guillain–Barre syndrome and myasthenia gravis
- Haematological disorders such as cytopenia – a low mature red blood cell count, which can occur following radiotherapy and chemotherapy for cancer treatment
- Dermatological disorders such as Kawasaki syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis
When people donate, the plasma is filtered out of circulating blood by an apheresis machine and the red blood cells are returned to the donor.
Several thousand donors will initially be recruited from the existing NHSBT blood donor base, rather than the general public.
Open recruitment will be introduced in the future.
To find out more about blood plasma donation you can visit www.blood.co.uk or call on 0300 123 23 23.
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