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At What Stage of the Disease Can I Donate Plasma?
If you’ve been diagnosed with alpha-gal syndrome, your plasma is vitally needed for research. Acceptance into our alpha-gal research program is based on your current antibody levels specific to the disease. Alpha-gal antibody levels evolve over time, so you may be asked to have additional blood testing as part of the screening process for acceptance into the program.
- Be medically diagnosed with alpha-gal syndrome.
- Submit a copy of your Galactose-Alpha-1,3-Galactose and IgE test results to our medical director for review to determine if your antibody levels are within the range of research needs.
- Live in Northwest Washington or can travel to Everett, Washington for appointments.
- Meet FDA and PlasmaLab qualification requirements.
- Be able to come to our lab for multiple appointments if needed.
- Want to make a difference!
What is Alpha-Gal?
Alpha-gal syndrome, also known as alpha-gal allergy, is a recently identified type of food allergy to red meat. The condition often begins when a Lone Star tick bite transmits a sugar molecule called alpha-gal into the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, in some people this triggers an immune system reaction that later produces mild to severe allergic reactions when they eat red meat.
Symptoms of an alpha-gal allergic reaction typically don’t appear for three to six hours after eating red meat. Skin symptoms may include hives, itching, and scaly skin (eczema). Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat, and other body parts may occur. Additional potential symptoms include wheezing or shortness of breath, a runny nose, sneezing, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Anaphylaxis, a potentially deadly allergic reaction that restricts breathing, is possible. Individuals exposed to many tick bites over time may develop more severe symptoms.
The Lone Star tick is found predominantly in the southeastern United States; thus, most cases of alpha-gal syndrome occur in this region. The Mayo Clinic notes that the condition appears to be spreading farther north and west as deer carry the Lone Star tick to new parts of the United States. Additionally, alpha-gal syndrome has been diagnosed in Europe, Australia, and Asia, where other types of ticks carry alpha-gal molecules.