Affinity chromatography is a powerful technique for the purification of many proteins in human plasma. Applications cover the isolation of proteins for research purposes but also, to a large extent, for the production of therapeutic products. In industrial plasma fractionation, affinity chromatography has been found to be particularly advantageous for fine and rapid capture of plasma proteins from industrial plasma fractions pre-purified by ethanol fractionation or by ion-exchange chromatography. To date, affinity chromatography is being used in the production of various licensed therapeutic plasma products, such as the concentrates of Factor VIII, Factor IX, von Willebrand Factor, Protein C, Antithrombin III, and Factor XI. Most commonly used ligands are heparin, gelatin, murine antibodies, and, to a lesser extent, Cu2+. Possible development of the use of affinity chromatography in industrial plasma fractionation should be associated to the current development of phage display and combinatorial chemistry. Both approaches may lead to the development of tailor-made synthetic ligands that would allow implementation of protein capture technology, providing improved productivity and yield for plasma products.
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