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Plasmapheresis in situ

A safer way to extract plasma

Technical file

Innovation leader: Víctor Grífols i Lucas

Year: 1965

Period: The American influence (1960-1994)

Type of innovation: Technical procedure

Scope: Hemotherapy

Patent: Yes

Geographical reach: International

Economic impact:  1-High

Level of innovation:  1-Disruptive

Interdisciplinary connections: -

Related innovations: Blood bank, Plasmapheresis

Plasmapheresis was a great step forward for the development of plasma protein medicines, and thus very much part of the foundation of Grifols' business. It remains an essential technique which is widely used around the world.

 

Reducing the health risk

It's also a procedure with negligible health risks for donors. In its early days, however, technical limitations meant that plasmapheresis was not as safe as it is today. The chief problem was that reinfusion of blood cells and platelets occurred hours or even days after the original extraction of whole blood. The time needed to centrifuge the donation of whole blood was four or five hours, due in part to the centrifuging process being separate from the extraction process. Usually, donors received the cells and platelets from their previous donation. If they came on a weekly basis, they got reinfused with the cells and platelets separated the previous week.

 

An innovation that is still in use

In 1965 Víctor Grífols developed a faster centrifuge to perform the plasmapheresis right next to the donor, on their bed, meaning that cells and platelets could be reinfused immediately after they had been extracted.

The result was that donation, separation and re-injection could take place in the same place. Even more crucially, for the first time the three steps were effectively integrated into one seamless process. Once a donor left their bed, they did so with all their blood cells, leaving only their plasma behind.

Not surprisingly, the device was patented in various countries and for several years. Víctor Grífols added more as he improved the apparatus, which in 1967 took the name of Monofuge. Continuous centrifuges in use today are based on its principles, and a testament to the power of innovation to overcome health risks.

 

 

Immediate reinfusion of blood cells and platelets
made plasmapheresis the tried and true method it is today

 

Bibliography

  • Grífols-Lucas, J.A. (1952). Use of plasmapheresis in blood donors. British Medical Journal, 1(4763), 854.
  • Grífols-Lucas, V. (1965). Aparato para practicar, in situ, la plasmaféresis. Patente de invención española no. 309216. Oficina Española de Patentes. Madrid: España.
  • Grífols-Lucas, V. (1965). Prodecimiento para practicar, in situ, la plasmaféresis. Patente de invención española no. 320656. Oficina Española de Patentes. Madrid: España.
  • Grífols-Lucas, V. (1966). Aparato para practicar, in situ, la plasmafèresis. Certificado de adición no. Oficina Española de Patentes. Madrid: España.
  • Grífols-Lucas, V. Aparato para practicar, in situ, la plasmafèresis. Patente de invención española no. 328905. Oficina Española de Patentes. Madrid: España.
  • Grífols-Lucas, V. (1968). Method for performing plasmapheresis in situ. Patente de invención americana no. 3407812. United States Patent Office. Washington: USA.
  • Dade Reagents Inc. (1968). Clinical experience with the Dade Monofuge plasmapheresis system. Folleto publicitario de Dade Reagents.
  • Dade Reagents Inc. (1968). New standards of safety and efficiency in plasmapheresis : the Dade Reagents Monofuge System. Folleto publicitario de Dade Reagents.
  • Grífols-Lucas, V. (1969). Apparatus for performing plasmapheresis in situ. Patente de invención americana no. 3460752. United States Patent Office. Washington: USA.
  • Grífols-Lucas, V. (1969). Aparato para practicar, in situ, la plasmafèresis. Certificado de adición no. Oficina Española de Patentes. Madrid: España.
  • Laboratorios Grífols (1971). Proceso de la plasmaféresis en un banco de sangre americano. Folleto publicitario de Laboratorios Grífols.
  • Grífols-Lucas, V. (2009). Amb un suro i un cordill. Vivències d'un empresari de postguerra. Barcelona: Grífols Group, S.A.
  • Grifols, S.A. (2011). ¿Y si lo hacemos así? Patentes de Víctor Grífols i Lucas. Barcelona: España.
  • Avellà, R., & Miquel, B. (Eds.). (2015). Cuando un sueño se cumple. Crónica ilustrada de 75 años de Grifols. Barcelona: Grupo Grifols S.A.