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Development History of Blood Products

The term "blood products" is generally used in China, while internationally it is "plasma derivatives", which is a general term of plasma protein products with clinical application that are isolated from human plasma. Along with the development of biotechnology, plasma protein products produced by genetic engineering technique emerged. These artificial proteins possesses similar, or even identical molecular structure and biological functions towards its human plasma counterpart and have the same clinical application significance and efficacy, so they are also belong to blood products.


Blood products originated from 1940s, and have a history of seven decades. It was during the Second World War, when whole blood transfusion was not workable due to the restrictions of blood matching and its storage and transportation, and a kind of safe and efficient, small size and easy shipped plasma expander was desired to rescue the wounded. E. J. Cohn, a professor of Harvard University, developed with his working group the low temperature Ethanol method to refine human albumin from human blood, hence the first blood product was produced.


The development of blood products can be reviewed from two aspects, the plasma protein fractionating technology and new blood derivatives R&D.
Review the history of plasma fractionating technique:

1. In 1946, Professor E. J. Cohn of Harvard University published the preparation process of human albumin, which is the historically Cohn 6 Method.
2. In 1949, Professor E. J. Cohn developed the Cohn 9 Method to prepare immunoglobulin. The Cohn 6+9 Method constituted the integral technique for blood products commercial manufacturing, and was used by majority manufacturers of blood products in Americas for later decades.
3. In 1962, Professor Nitschmann and Professor Kistler from the Centralab of Swiss Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service made bold improvement to the Cohn 6+9 Method, efficiently shortening its production and improving the yield. This was called the Nitschmann-Kistler Method, and was used by majority manufacturers of blood products in Europe afterwards.
4. Both the Cohn 6+9 Method and the Nitschmann-Kistler Method were established on the basis of the process of fractionating plasma protein by cold ethanol. The NH4SO4 precipitation method and the Rivanol precipitation Method emerged during the 1950s to extract albumin and immunoglobulin from placentas, but gradually withdrew from the mass productiondue to the shortage of raw materials and the insufficient stability.
5. After 1970s, chromatography was increasingly incorporated into the manufacturing by improvement of gel filtration, ion exchange and affinity chromatography. The combination of chromatography and cold ethanol methods plays very important role in blood products manufacture.
6. In 1980s, the genetic engineering technology achieved unprecedented progress, and blood products prepared with this technology emerged with the similar therapeutic effect of plasma derivatives. It is believed that in future the genetic engineering blood products will be accepted and used by more and more people.

Review the R&D history of blood derivatives:

Since the invention of albumin, manufacturers and medical service providers consistently focuses on new blood derivatives, not only for the costs reduction, but for the limitation and precious plasma supplying as part of blood. The more varieties of blood derivatives, the more beneficial it will contribute to human healthcare.

More than 100 plasma proteins have identified molecular structures, and 20 proteins have been isolated and put into clinical, which are mainly divided into four types from its function: 1. albumin, 2. immunoglobulin, 3. coagulation factor and, 4. protein. This sequence also applies to the development and clinical application of these four types of protein and each type of them has grown out from zero to many. The blood products are believed to have more varieties and more expansive applications along with the development of the bio-engineering technology and bio-medical science.