Lethbridge has been chosen by Canadian Blood Services as one of three dedicated plasma donation sites across the country.

CEO Dr. Graham Sher says the standalone sites will allow for an increase in plasma collection and halt the current downward trend in Canada’s source plasma sufficiency levels.

Plasma is the blood component used to make specialized medicines from proteins in human plasma.

Usage of one plasma protein product, Immune globulin (Ig) has doubled internationally in the past ten years. It’s used to treat primary immunodeficiency disorders, a group of rare, chronic disorders in which part of the immune system is missing or functioning improperly.

While a CBS spokesperson wasn’t available for an interview, a statement sent to MyLethbridgeNow.com says the cities chosen have strong community engagement “and that is certainly true of Lethbridge whole blood donors.

It says “we are in the early stages of our planning, but realize that awareness of the difference between plasma and whole blood collection/donation is often misunderstood, and are hoping to begin raising awareness as soon as possible.”

When asked if the plasma collection site in Lethbridge would be taking the place of the local blood donor clinic, Canadian Blood Services replied in a statement “we will be engaging with our local teams about this and other aspects the proof-of-concept model, over the course of the coming week. At this point, out of respect and deference for the interests and involvement of various key stakeholders, we can only assure you that our decisions will involve a transition of the donor base.”

The first standalone plasma collection site is expected to open in Sudbury, Ontario next Spring followed by Lethbridge in the Fall of 2020 and Kelowna in the Spring of 2021.