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Grifols Study Suggests Repeated Plasmapheresis May Reduce "Bad" LDL Cholesterol Levels While Increasing "Good" HDL Cholesterol Levels In Some Individuals

MADRID, March 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Grifols, (MCE:GRF, MCE:GRF.P and NASDAQ:GRFS), a global healthcare company that specializes in the production of biological medicines derived from human plasma, presented study results today suggesting that the plasmapheresis process may reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol as well as total cholesterol in individuals who have high baseline levels.  The study also suggests that plasmapheresis could increase levels of "good" (HDL) cholesterol among individuals with low baseline levels.

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The study, involving 663 adults and 9,153 plasma samples, was designed to assess the impact of plasmapheresis on cholesterol levels in the blood.  Plasmapheresis is a technique widely used to obtain blood plasma from individuals while returning their remaining blood components.  Plasma obtained during plasmapheresis is used to produce life-saving medicines for patients who have rare, genetic and life-threatening illnesses.

"The results of our study suggest that plasmapheresis may reduce the levels of cholesterol, although the magnitude of the effect observed depends on the baseline levels of cholesterol and the time intervals between plasmapheresis procedures," said Dr. Marilyn Rosa-Bray, Chief Medical Officer of the Grifols Plasma Operations.  "While the results are preliminary and the study should be replicated in larger populations, our data suggest that plasmapheresis might particularly benefit people with either high LDL or total cholesterol levels," said Dr. Rosa-Bray.  Dr. Rosa-Bray presented the study today at the International Plasma Protein Conference (IPPC) meeting in Madrid, Spain. 

Study ResultsUsing a statistical model known as multi-variable regression to analyze the study data, the researchers estimated that plasmapheresis could reduce the levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol by more than 30 mg/dL among individuals with high levels (> 160 mg/dL) or higher than desirable levels (>130 mg/dL), when plasmapheresis procedures are performed two to four days apart.  This effect was more significant in women, in whom cholesterol could be reduced by up to 35 mg/dL.  A similar reduction pattern is estimated to occur in individuals with high total cholesterol levels (>240mg/dL) or higher than desirable levels (>200mg/dL), with the reductions in these cases potentially reaching 45mg/dL and 32 mg/dL, respectively. 

The cholesterol-lowering effects of plasmapheresis appeared to last only as long as the procedure continued at regular intervals, with cholesterol levels gradually returning to baseline following long periods without plasmapheresis.  The same pattern of reductions could be seen, although to a lesser degree, when subsequent plasmapheresis procedures were performed more than 10 days apart.  Among individuals with normal baseline cholesterol levels, the study results suggested that plasmapheresis would not cause significant changes.  The study results also suggest that plasmapheresis could increase the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or "good" cholesterol in individuals who presented low baseline levels of HDL cholesterol.  

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