Healthy blood donation for research

At the Centre for Personalised Immunology, we are investigating the causes of immune diseases. These include autoimmune diseases such as lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome, thyroiditis and type 1 diabetes, immune deficiency diseases such as common variable immune deficiency (CVID), and inflammatory diseases such as vasculitis and sarcoidosis. Many of these individual diseases are rare, but collectively affect about 5% of the population.

Australians are familiar with the idea of donating blood to help people who need life-saving transfusions or regular blood products, but donating for medical research is less well known.

Donating blood for research helps us to advance medical knowledge about a wide range of immune-related medical conditions and diseases. New and effective treatments for these conditions depend on medical research.

How blood is used for research

Researchers use donated blood to understand how the immune system works, and what goes wrong to cause disease. White blood cells and antibodies are both components of the immune system, which we can isolate from a blood sample.

In our research, we obtain blood samples from patients to analyse their white blood cells and antibodies, but it is important to compare these results to those from healthy people. This is because there is a lot of person-to-person variation in immune function. 

The donation process

If you are interested in donating blood for medical Research at the Centre, please download and read the forms below and then contact us and we will arrange an appointment for you.

  •  At the appointment, you will be given a patient information form, which outlines the purpose of the research.
  • You will be given a consent form to sign.
  • The blood collection procedure is safe and is performed by a qualified nurse, medical practitioner or a qualified phlebotomist. The procedure takes about 20 minutes.
  • The amount of blood required from eachn donor depends on the needs of the research project. The maximum amount of blood taken is 100ml. The body takes only a few days or so to replace the lost blood volume.
  • Depending on the amount of blood taken, you can donate again within three months. Most people can donate regularly.
  • Your name and contact details are kept on a database in case you would like to give future donations.
  • If you have a complaint about any aspect of the research, you can contact the ACT Health Human Research Ethics Committee.

Donor requirements

If you participate as a healthy blood donor, we will need to ask you a few questions about your health. You might not be eligible for the healthy donation programme if your medical history includes any of the following:

  1. An autoimmune or inflammatory disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, seronegative arthritis, other autoimmune diseases (eg type 1 diabetes, thyroiditis), or vasculitis,
  2. Immune deficiency
  3. Treatment with immune-modulating drug, such as corticosteroids, immune-suppressants, cytotoxic chemotherapy, immune-modulating monoclonal antibody therapy
  4. Recent radiotherapy
  5. Organ transplantation 
  6. Malignancy
  7. Type 2 diabetes
  8. Pregnant

In addition, you might not be eligible if you have a first degree relative with confirmed systemic autoimmune disease or primary immune deficiency.

If you wish to volunteer as a Healthy Blood Donor, please download and read these forms below before contacting either Anastasia Wilson (Research Nurse) or Ann-Maree Hatch (Clinical Liaison Officer) at cpi.info@anu.edu.au or 02 6244 3272