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What is leukapheresis?

Leukapheresis is collection of leukocytes. Leukocytes are also known as white blood cells or immune cells. An automated apheresis machine removes white blood cells from whole blood by density separation and collects them in a collection bag known as a leukopak. The remaining red blood cells and platelets are then returned to the donor. The white blood cells that have been removed will be replaced quickly by your body. Leukapheresis allows for the collection of concentrated, pure white blood cells from a single donor.

What are white blood cells?

White blood cells are frequently referred to as peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and contain various immune cells: B cells, T cells, stem/progenitor cells and dendritic cells. White blood cells help defend the body against disease and infection. The white blood cells that are removed by leukapheresis are replaced quickly in the donor.

What does HemaCenter do with my donated cells?

Your cells are provided to medical researchers to be used in development of cell therapies. Leukopaks are used when a large number of healthy donor cells are required for studies and testing. Your donated cells further scientists’ efforts in developing next-generation medical therapies for a variety of diseases.

Is there any cost to me to donate?

No, there is no cost to you.

Will I be paid for donating my blood cells?

Yes, you will be compensated for your first visit (screening) as well as paid on your second visit (donation). Compensation will be in the form of a Visa pre-paid card.

What happens to my personal information that is collected during the screening and donation process?

HemaCenter will declassify your personal information, assigning only a number. This information will be used only for traceability associated with the collection and use of your cells. We will take all necessary actions to comply with HIPAA laws and protect your personal information.

Is it necessary for me to share my personal information to donate?

Yes, it is. Your medical history and current medical status serve a number of purposes in the donation process. Since your cells will be used in medical research and could potentially be incorporated into a therapy, we must ensure the utmost safety of its use. This includes screening for infectious diseases per U.S. FDA regulations.

Is this going to take a lot of time and effort?

Donating requires 2 on-site visits. The first visit should only last about an hour and the second visit (donation visit) could last up to several hours.

Does donating hurt? Are there any serious risks?

Leukapheresis is relatively painless, although it may cause discomfort, redness, and bruising at the venipuncture (vein puncture) site. Apheresis is common and regularly used for plasma and platelet donations. Donors may feel cold during the procedure, so blankets are provided to make sure you are comfortable. Fainting, although rare, may also occur. An abnormal drop in blood calcium may cause muscle spasms or numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. HemaCenter can provide calcium to help prevent this effect.

Can I get the HIV by donating ?

No. You cannot get any transmissible disease or viruses, including HIV, by donating. The materials used for each donor are sterile, disposable, and used only in one donation.

What safety procedures are utilized at HemaCenter?

At HemaCenter, we adhere to the strictest safety practices as part of our commitment to employee and donor health and well-being. Our cleaning professionals deep clean and disinfect the center routinely, and our staff thoroughly cleans and disinfects the center after every donor. All cleaning protocols use company-approved cleaning agents.

What additional precautions does HemaCenter take to ensure donor safety, especially with respect to COVID-19?

  • Masks must be worn at all times in the building and the center.
  • Employees wear masks and additional personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.
  • Employee and donor temperature screens are conducted upon entry to the center.
  • COVID-19 exposure history is part donor screening
  • Employees and donors maintain social distancing, whenever possible.
  • Enhanced daily cleaning and disinfecting procedures have been instituted.
  • Our team continues to monitor and follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and take appropriate steps as changes are recommended by the CDC.

How often can I donate?

You can safely donate every 8 weeks.

Is there anything special I should do before I donate?

You should eat calcium rich foods at your regular meal times and avoid fatty foods. It is important to stay well hydrated and drink plenty of fluids before donating. Prior to donating, you should avoid caffeine and alcohol and get a good night sleep.

Are there additional resources on cell therapies?