The leukapheresis technique is widely being used in research to explore the roles, functions, and even impairments of the body’s natural defense and immunological cells: the WBCs. The National Institutes of Health is currently recruiting patients (as of May 2016) to examine the function of specific immunological cells obtained from leukapheresis procedures in patients with and without HIV treated with HAART(highly active antiretroviral therapy). Even researchers looking for more information on the complexity of Chronic Gvhd (graft versus host disease) found the leukapheresis procedure beneficial in producing a sufficient yield of lymphocytes.
Leukapheresis can be used to harvest WBC from a variety of patients with either healthy, normal medical histories or with viral or chronic illnesses to use in test kits for research. Subjects with autoimmune or infectious diseases must be approved for donation eligibility and frequency by a research principal investigator or physician. According to standard protocol and FDA guidelines (strictly followed by PPA Research Group), apheresis treatments can be performed every 14 days up to 26 times per year. PPA’s guidelines allow patients to donate one full leuko pack (one treatment) every 56 days. The selection of donors who are eligible for standardized, repeatable leukapheresis treatments include the following criteria [1, PPA SOP]:
• Male or non-pregnant, non-lactating females aged 18-70 years old
• Total protein level of greater than or equal to 6.0 or less than or equal to 9.0 mg/dL at every donation
• Hematocrit level of greater than or equal to 38% at each donation
• Serum protein electrophoresis (SPE) levels initially within normal range and every 4 months thereafter
• Body weight of at least 110 lbs at every visit
• Pulse between 50-100 beats/minute at each donation
• Blood pressure no lower than 90 systolic and 50 diastolic and no higher than 180/100
• Complete Blood Count (CBC) within normal limits within 7 days of each donation
A single leukapheresis procedure can reduce peripheral WBC count by 20-50%. A 50% decrease in the peripheral WBC count corresponds to removing 85% of the circulating WBC mass. A peripheral WBC count of less than 100,000 μL for therapeutic leukapheresis is a good goal to reduce the risk of hyperleukocytosis related symptoms.
Centers approved for research initiated leukapheresis treatment studies should have up-to-date IRB approval and follow strict FDA regulated guidelines in a sterile, safe environment.
"Physician’s Plasma Alliance (PPA) can collect bulk quantities of plasma, serum, blood or other human biological materials ranging from a single unit to thousands of liters. Whether you need healthy or disease state donor material: PPA has access to the patients your research requires. "