CSL Plasma Donates $125K to American Red Cross for Disaster Relief

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by Steve Bryson, PhD |

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CSL Plasma has donated $125,000 to the American Red Cross to support recovery and relief efforts following disasters in the U.S., including tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, residential fires, and floods.

These disasters can affect areas where plasma donors live and where employees involved in the manufacturing of plasma-derived therapies work. Plasma donations are essential because human plasma — the liquid part of blood — is used to produce therapies for several diseases, including hereditary angioedema, or HAE, as well as inherited lung diseases, immunodeficiency conditions, and bleeding disorders like hemophilia.

“Our donors and employees help do the amazing in our centers — enabling life-saving plasma donations to help patients affected by rare and serious diseases,” Michelle Meyer, CSL Plasma’s general manager, said in a press release. “It is our hope that this donation can support those who do the amazing in our communities where our donors and employees call home.”

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CSL Plasma centers collect blood plasma for its parent company, CSL Behring, which manufactures and delivers therapies for patients, including those with HAE, in more than 100 countries.

HAE is caused by an inherited deficiency in C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH), which normally regulates the activity of other proteins that promote the production of a pro-inflammatory molecule called bradykinin. Without this inhibitor protein, HAE patients can experience swelling attacks anywhere in the body, but most commonly in the hands and feet, and around the eyes.

One therapeutic option during acute attacks is to restore C1-INH levels with concentrates — medications derived from healthy blood plasma — including the approved treatments Berinert, Cinryze, and Haegarda.

Fresh frozen plasma is another treatment that contains many proteins, including C1-INH. Angioedema swelling episodes around the mouth and throat can become life-threatening if they block the airways. Fresh frozen plasma is used in emergency rooms to immediately treat these severe cases that do not respond to other therapies.

Although the vast majority of disasters the Red Cross responds to are home fires, the organization also helped with wildfires in the Western U.S., tornadoes in Kentucky, and Hurricane Ida relief along the Gulf Coast and Northeast.

CSL Plasma’s donation will help the Red Cross strengthen its infrastructure, train volunteers, create new technologies, and provide essential resources necessary to meet the urgent needs of those affected by a disaster.

“The Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes,” said Guy Triano, regional CEO for the American Red Cross. “This support helps the Red Cross offer disaster survivors a safe place to sleep, a hot meal, emotional support and resources to aid in recovery — while also helping people and communities prepare for disasters yet to come.”

“Support from organizations like CSL Plasma allows the Red Cross to deliver critical help to people who need it, anytime, anywhere,” Triano added.

CSL Behring said it would support local communities during emergency disasters as part of its global community framework, which also includes helping patient communities and biomedical research efforts.

“We know the devastating impact natural disasters can have, as witnessed in 2021 by disasters such as devastating tornadoes that hit the U.S. South and Midwest regions,” Meyer said. “CSL Plasma is honored for this donation to help enable the vital and immediate support and relief the American Red Cross provides to local communities.”