Floridians Recognized for Role in Helping Rare Disease Patients Who Need Lifesaving Therapies

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- This month, Floridians are recognizing "Plasma Protein Therapies Month," by raising awareness for the valuable contributions of plasma donors throughout the "Sunshine 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.

"It has given Dominik a normal childhood," said Kim Culver of her 10-year-old son who has a primary immune deficiency (PID) and who injects a plasma protein therapy, immune globulin, regularly from home. The Fort Myers mother says, "I can't describe the difference from before he was taking the therapy and after." Kim describes a life spent in doctors' offices, hospitals and traveling to specialists for four years before Dominik was diagnosed. Now Kim says he lives a happy, normal life and is pursuing a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, something that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago. Not only does Dominik have a PID, but also he has been diagnosed with von Willebrand disease, an inherited bleeding disorder that affects the body's ability to clot and that requires a different type of plasma protein therapy to treat. Kim routinely travels with her son three hours to a see a hematologist in Miami, who has never seen a case like Dominik. Kim looks forward to visiting a plasma collection center one day in order to meet donors and talk with them about the serious diseases their valuable donations help to treat.

Plasma, a biological material that cannot be manufactured, is used to create lifesaving therapies that come solely from committed plasma donors. The state of Florida is home to 20 plasma collection centers. As Florida 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 Florida 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 to interview 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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