Californians Recognized For Role In Helping Rare Disease Patients Who Need Lifesaving Therapies

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- This month, Californians are recognizing "Plasma Protein Therapies Month," by raising awareness for the valuable contributions of plasma donors throughout the "Golden State" and for the rare, genetic diseases treated with the therapies that are made possible through plasma donation.

Plasma protein therapies, which include plasma-derived therapies and recombinant blood clotting factors (a biotechnology product), are used every day to treat people with bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia, that causes painful internal bleeding and debilitating joint damage; primary immunodeficiency diseases, which prevent a person from fighting off even common infections; and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, also known as genetic chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a disease that severely damages the liver and lungs. In addition, a plasma protein therapy, albumin, is used in critical care settings, when treating severe trauma, burns and during major surgery.

"There is no doubt the therapy has prolonged my life," said Karen Erickson from Thousand Oaks, Calif. Karen, a former triathlete, has been diagnosed with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Karen was told 10 years ago by her pulmonologist "we think we can get you a few years." The physician had heard of the rare disease, but had never seen a case first-hand. Karen self-infuses a plasma protein therapy weekly from home and uses inhalants and oxygen to manage her health daily to allow her to continue working and exercising despite a diminished lung capacity of 20 percent. While the damage to her lungs caused by the deficiency is irreversible, it is stemmed by regular infusions of her therapy. The therapy provides her body with the protein it needs and that her liver does not naturally produce. She is waiting for a lung transplant.

Plasma, a biological material that cannot be manufactured, is used to create lifesaving therapies that come solely from committed plasma donors. The state of California is home to 15 plasma collection centers. As California celebrates the generosity of its donors and raises awareness for the rare diseases that are treated with the therapies during Plasma Protein Therapies Month, we encourage everyone to thank donors who help to ensure a higher quality of life for patients across the United States and around the world.

"Plasma-derived therapies start with dedicated donors such as those in California and patients with rare, life-threatening, chronic and genetic medical disorders depend on healthy donors to commit to a lengthy screening process and a long-term dedication to regular donations," said Josh Penrod, Vice President, PPTA Source. "By recognizing plasma protein therapies month, we salute donors who understand the urgent need for the sustained supply of plasma to ensure the production of these critical, lifesaving therapies."

For more information about plasma protein therapies, the diseases they treat and donating plasma, please go to www.donatingplasma.org. For more information on the plasma collection industry or to arrange an interview with a patient, please contact Kara Flynn at (443) 458-4669 or Kym H. Kilbourne at (443) 458-4682.

The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) represents the world's leading manufacturers of plasma-derived and recombinant biological therapies, collectively known as plasma protein therapies and the collectors of source plasma. These critical therapies are infused or injected by more than 1 million people worldwide to treat a variety of rare, life threatening diseases and serious medical conditions. PPTA members produce in excess of 80 percent of the plasma protein therapies used in the United States today and more than 60 percent worldwide. PPTA is a global trade association that administers international, voluntary standards programs to help ensure the highest quality and safety of plasma protein therapies and the plasma collected to manufacture them. Additionally, PPTA works in partnership with the patient community and consumer advocates to help ensure continued access to lifesaving plasma protein therapies.

SOURCE Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA)



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