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Research & Innovation

How Apheresis Helps Battle Autoimmune Disease

February 28, 2017

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Emma Hendrickson was 14 years old when she was diagnosed with a debilitating, rare autoimmune disease, a condition that affects less than 100 people worldwide.

She turned to Yale Medicine for answers. Doctors use a procedure called apheresis, which takes every drop of blood out of Emma's body, separates the plasma containing rogue antibodies and infuses a blood protein replacement. It's like bailing out a leaking boat. It won't fix the leak but it prevents a patient from suffering. In Emma's case, the procedure gives her an optimal quality of life until a cure is found.