What You Need To Know About Leukapheresis And Leukopacks

Apheresis is a process whereby blood is taken from a person and separated into its basic components. When the focus of such efforts is aimed at separating white blood cells, that is called leukapheresis. This process can be utilized for a variety of reasons, including the creation of cell therapies, research and even as a treatment for individuals who have dangerously high white blood cell counts.

When blood cells are extracted for use in research or therapies, they're often packaged into what are called leukopaks. This kind of work is handled in highly controlled laboratory conditions. Donors are required to undergo a series of tests, including an infectious disease panel and a full blood count. The goal is to ensure that donated cells don't endanger others or the donor.

After the desired materials from the blood have been extracted, the rest of the blood is reconstituted. It can then be returned to the donor's body where it will be replenished over the next month or so.

How Are Leukopaks Used?

Trained medical professionals have to set up leukopaks for patients. The products can be shipped to hospitals or laboratories either fresh or cryopreserved. When they are set up for patients, the packages are hung in a manner similar to how an IV drip is used. Machines also have to be used to ensure that the amount of the drip is in line with the recommendations of an administering doctor.

What Is the Process Used to Treat?

The range of treatments involving leukapheresis tends to split up into two groups. You have treatments that are aimed at individuals who have too much of something in their bloodstreams. For example, someone suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia may need to have white blood cells removed from their body. Cancerous cells are then killed using chemotherapy, and the process is often repeated over months to ensure that all the cancer is gone. Cells collected from patients may also be stored for later lab tests or to conduct research.

Any condition that calls for treatment with a specific collection of blood components may potentially be treated using leukopaks. For example, leukocytes are sometimes introduced to patients who have low white blood cell counts to boost their immune systems. This is especially the case when there are concerns about patients who have poor immune responses during cancer treatments, transplants or while dealing with other immune diseases.

For more information on leukopaks, contact a medical research service.