About Plasma Proteins

What is plasma?

Human blood plasma is the pale yellow liquid portion of blood that is devoid of cellular components such as red and white blood cells. Plasma accounts for about 55% of the total blood volume and is a rich source material for a variety of proteins (plasma proteins) that are used for the treatment of many diseases and medical traumas.

Where does human plasma come from?

Plasma is collected in a highly regulated manner from volunteers and/or paid donors at regulated blood collection centres. At these centres, plasma is collected by two different procedures:

  • Source plasma: whole blood is removed from a donor and immediately separated into plasma (which is retained for the manufacture of biological therapeutics) and blood cells and platelets (which are immediately returned to the donor)
  • Recovered plasma: plasma is separated and collected from whole blood after blood donations

Human plasma proteins

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Human Serum Albumin (30 - 35 g/L)

Blood volume expander used in cases of traumas,
burns, and surgeries and also used as a stabilizer in therapeutic protein products

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (1.3 g/L)

Treatment of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency

Coagulation Factors (3.8 – 6.6 g/L)

Treatment of Hemophilia A and B, von Willebrand disease and other bleeding disorders

Polyvalent Immunoglobulin G (6 – 7 g/L)

Treatment of primary and secondary immunodeficiencies, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, Kawasaki disease, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, and multifocal motor neuropathy

Other Plasma Proteins (25 g/L)

Treatment of numerous other medical conditions

What kind of proteins are captured from plasma?

Human plasma is a source material for a wide variety of therapeutic proteins including those listed below.

Plasma Proteins Description Therapeutic Uses

Polyvalent Immunoglobulin G (IgG)

  • A heterogeneous pool of antibodies that represents the first line of defense for an effective immune system
  • Can be administered intravenously (IVIG or IGIV), subcutaneously (SCIG) or intramuscularly (IMIG)
  • Primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs)
  • Secondary immunodeficiencies (SIDs)
  • Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
  • Multifocal motor neuropathy

Human Serum Albumin (HSA)

  • Most abundant human plasma protein
  • Maintains pH and oncotic pressure in the blood
  • Transporter of hormones, lipids, and drugs
  • Blood volume expander used in cases of traumas, burns and surgeries
  • Used as a stabiliser in many therapeutic protein products

Factor VIII (FVIII), also known as Anti-hemophilic Factor (AHF)

  • Glycoprotein involved in blood clotting that activates prothrombin (also known as Factor II or FII) in conjunction with FIX
  • Treatment of Hemophilia A patients who have a deficiency in FVIII

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT or A1AT) also known as Alpha-1 Protease Inhibitor

  • A serum trypsin inhibiting protein that prevents the breakdown of elastin, which contributes to the elasticity of the lungs
  • Treatment of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency which is associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to emphysema

Factor VII (FVII), also known as Proconvertin

  • Glycoprotein involved in blood clotting that is activated upon binding to factor III (FIII or Tissue Factor)
  • FVII comes into contact with FIII when blood vessels are injured

The activated form of FVII (FVIIa) is used for:

  • Treatment of Hemophilia A and B patients who do not respond to FVIII or FIX replacement therapy, respectively, due to development of neutralizing antibodies that inhibit FVIII or FIX
  • Treatment of FVII deficiency

von Willebrand Factor (vWF)

  • Multimeric glycoprotein involved in blood clotting
  • Acts as a FVIII chaperone preventing its proteolysis
  • Mediates platelet adhesion and aggregation during clotting
  • Treatment of von Willebrand disease, where patients are deficient in vWF
  • Combined with FVIII to treat Hemophilia A patients

Factor IX (FIX), also known as Christmas Factor

  • Glycoprotein involved in blood clotting that activates prothrombin in conjunction with FVIII
  • Treatment of Hemophilia B patients who have a deficiency in Factor IX

Prothrombin Complex Concentrate (PCC)

  • A combination of coagulation factors (II, VII, IX, X) and Protein C and S that enhance blood clotting
  • Treatment of bleeding in acquired deficiency of PCC factors such as deficiency caused by treatment with vitamin K antagonists
  • Reverses the effects of anti-coagulants such as warfarin

C1 Esterase Inhibitor (C1EI)

  • Protease inhibitor involved in modulating the complement system
  • Treatment of hereditary angioedema (HAE)

Antithrombin III (AT, ATIII)

  • Protein that binds to, and inactivates, multiple coagulation factors
  • Acts as an anti-coagulant
  • Treatment of patients with antithrombin III deficiency which is associated with thromboembolisms

Fibrinogen

  • Soluble glycoprotein that is the precursor to fibrin, an insoluble structural protein that polymerises and forms a mesh for blood clotting
  • Fibrinogen is converted to fibrin by thrombin
  • Treatment of deficiencies or fibrinogen defects (hypo-, dys-, or afibrinogenemia) that can lead to bleeding disorders
  • Fibrin sealants for blood clotting during surgeries or to control excessive bleeding; these sealants consist of a fibrinogen solution mixed with a thrombin solution

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