Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Help?

People are diagnosed with cancer, autoimmune diseases and other life-threatening illnesses every day. These patients rely on not just tried-and-true treatments, but on novel therapies. Beacon Biologics bridges the gap between research and patient care, making it possible for individuals to receive the newest, most effective treatments possible.

Where can I donate?

Beacon Biologics currently has one location:
2111 W Braker Ln #200, Austin, TX 78758

Beacon Biologics is accessible via several metro bus lines. To find your route, visit https://capmetro.org/planner

What am I allowed to donate?

We collect white blood cells using an apheresis machine. The collected cells then go to scientific or medical researchers or novel cell therapy manufacturers to help create new treatments and cures for cancer, autoimmune disorders and other rare diseases.

How do I get started with donating white cells?

Complete the donor questionnaire on the Beacon Biologics website. From there, one of our experienced staff members will contact you to schedule your screening visit and answer any questions that you have. At your screening visit, we will review your medical history and collect a sample of whole blood for testing. After this visit, we will contact you for future white cell donation needs!

How does white blood cell collection work?

We collect your white cells using a process called leukapheresis, which separates the white cells from the rest of your blood. In a process similar to blood donation, you will be connected to a machine to safely collect your white cells and return the other parts of the blood back to your body.

How often can I donate?

Time restrictions between donations are based upon guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for your safety. Donation cadence depends upon current research needs; however, donations can occur as frequently as:

  • White blood cells: Every 8 weeks.

Will I be compensated for my time?

Yes. Your time will be compensated based on the rates below.

  • Apheresis collection: $175 plus one of the following, if successful:
    • White blood cell collection: $175
    • Red blood cell collection: $175
    • Platelets: $175
    • Plasma: $175

This is a partial list; compensation is dependent upon current research projects.

How will I receive my compensation?

Donors are compensated via reloadable Visa gift card immediately following each screening visit or donation.


Donor Eligibility

Who can donate white cells?

Healthy individuals over 18 years of age may be eligible. Because the cells collected by Beacon Biologics are not used for transfusion, you may be eligible to contribute with Beacon Biologics even if you are unable to donate blood.

What form of identification (ID) is needed to donate?

The following forms of ID with a birth date and photo will be accepted:

  • Driver’s license
  • State-issued ID card
  • Student identification card
  • Passport, visa or green card

Can I donate if I take medications?

Many medications are acceptable for white blood cell donation. When you complete your donor registration, please list all current medications so we can determine your eligibility.

I am part of the LGBTQ+ community. Can I donate?

People from the LGBTQ+ community may be able to donate white cells if eligibility criteria are met as part of the health screening.


Preparing for Your Visit

How can donors prepare for their donation?

Get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy meal and stay hydrated before, during and after your appointment.

How long will my donation take?

A white cell donation will take approximately 4 hours, from entering our donation center until completion. This includes your pre-donation screening and post-donation refreshments.

What should I bring to my appointment?

Please bring a valid form of ID. The following forms of ID with a birth date and photo will be accepted:

  • Driver’s license
  • State-issued ID card
  • Student identification card
  • Passport, visa or green card

You also may consider bringing a book, tablet, laptop or other mobile device with headphones to relax and enjoy during your donation. Water and post-donation refreshments will be available. Finally, if this is your first visit to Beacon Biologics, you will need to have your Social Security Number (SSN), or tax identification number available (required to issue your reloadable Visa card).

What happens if I forget my ID card?

If you forget your ID card, your appointment will need to be rescheduled.

Is white cell donation safe, and are side effects possible when donating?

Beacon Biologics is committed to the safety of all healthy adults who meet white cell donation eligibility requirements. As part of your donation, you will receive a brief health assessment to ensure eligibility.

Side effects are possible with any procedure, although they are infrequent and usually resolve quickly. We recommend staying hydrated and eating a healthy meal before and after each donation. Our professional staff will carefully review potential side effects of donation with you and answer any questions you have.

Can I donate if I’m afraid of needles?

Absolutely! You’re not alone if you feel nervous about donation. If you feel anxious, please remember your donation helps enable life-saving medical research!

If you still feel a bit uneasy about needles:

  • Take slow, deep breaths
  • Visualize having a successful white cell donation
  • Focus on the benefits of your donation for patients around the world
  • Consider bringing something to redirect your attention, like a mobile device to stream a favorite TV show or movie

Research

I’m a researcher looking for more information. Where do I start?

Thank you for your interest in Beacon Biologics. For more information about biomaterials for research, visit versiti.org/biomaterials to learn more and connect with a project manager.

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Beacon Biologics partners with people like you to enable research that saves lives. Your white cell donation makes groundbreaking research and discovery of new treatments possible around the world.

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