Apheresis is a medical procedure that allows for the separation of specific blood components from whole blood. This can be used to collect platelets, plasma, or white blood cells.
White blood cell donation is a type of apheresis that is used to collect immune cells, a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infection. These immune cells are often donated to patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, as these treatments can suppress the body's immune system. Though the process is the same, in this case, Clinical Trials Laboratory Services (CTLS) collects immune cells for researchers to study to improve such patient outcomes.
This process is different from a normal blood donation. The white blood cell donation process or leukapheresis is like other types of apheresis, such as plasmapheresis where blood plasma is collected. The donor will sit in a chair and have a needle inserted into each arm. Blood will be drawn from one arm and run through a machine called a cell separator. The cell separator will separate the immune cells from the rest of the blood components. The immune cells will be collected in a sterile bag, and the remaining blood components will be returned to the donor through the other arm.
A white blood cell donation process takes about three to four hours. During the donation, the donor will need to stay seated and still. It’s not uncommon to feel some mild discomfort but these are genuinely very slight and resolve upon the completion of the collection.
If you are interested in donating white blood cells through our leukapheresis program, you can contact a CTLS donor centre and a donor coordinator will be able to tell you if you are eligible to donate and answer any questions you have.
How to Become a White Blood Cell Donor
If you would like to become a white blood cell donor, there are a few things you need to know. First, you need to meet the eligibility requirements. You must be between the ages of 18 and 66, and you must have a normal white blood cell count. You also need to be in good health and free from any medical conditions that could be a risk factor for donation.
If you qualify to donate based on pre-screening factors, your visit will include an on-site health screening where your weight, blood pressure and pulse are measured and your veins assessed. CTLS will also obtain a blood sample to see if your cell count falls within normal range.
When the collection is complete, relax and enjoy refreshments while you recover. Donors are always compensated in appreciation for their time and efforts based on the volume of the collection.
Donors of all backgrounds, ethnicity and blood types are encouraged to participate as often as possible. So, if helping science to advance and accelerate the efforts to find a cure or end certain diseases sounds appealing, contact your local CTLS donor centre and ask about participating in the leukapheresis program today!
Click here to book an appointment for your white blood cell donation or contact us at +44 203 608 6260 to learn more.