Blood donations in Sheffield now saving even more lives

Every blood donation in Sheffield will now help make medicines for rare diseases and save even more lives.

Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 7:41 am

Yorkshire, including Sheffield residents, has approximately 80,000 blood donors, and they will not see any changes with their donation or red blood cells with this new process.

But when their blood is taken away for routine processing, the blood plasma will now be separated out and used to make a specialist medicine.

Antibodies in the plasma, which fights infections, will now be concentrated into immunoglobulin – a medicine which boosts or stabilises the immune system of people with immune disorders.

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Immunoglobulin medicine being infused into a patient.

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The medicine is expensive and demand has led to an international supply pressure, so recovering the plasma from blood donations will help bolster supplies to the NHS.

Around 1,500 people in Yorkshire were treated with immunoglobulin last year, which is mainly used to treat immunodeficiencies, where your body doesn’t make enough antibodies to fight infection, and autoimmune disorders, where your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body in some way.

Changes were rolled out to teams in Yorkshire last week.

Blood Donation.

Plasma will initially only be recovered from selected female blood donors, but in the future, it is hoped to be for all blood donors in Yorkshire.

An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said: “This is great news for donors and great news for the NHS. Now, every single blood donation session in Yorkshire will be able to provide plasma for medicines to benefit the NHS.

“Plasma is used to make unique, lifesaving treatments. Thousands of people rely on these medicines to stay alive.”