Here is an excerpt from Sam Walton’s Biography. He was dying of hairy cell leukemia, and the doctors had experimental artistic ideas to treat it.
In the late 1970s, Dr Gutterman discovered that Finnish physicians were pioneering interferon research and flew to Helsinki in investigate. He watched them work, dumping blood that had been donated to the Finnish Red Cross in a centrifuge, which spun the red cells to the bottom, the plasma to the top, and the white cells in-between. The white “buffy coats” were siphoned off, and the plasma and hemoglobin returned to the Red Cross to be used in transfusions. The white cells were partially purified, dried, and turned in powder.
This process involved hard work and great expense. Dr Gutterman was told that by running 90,000 pints of blood through the centrifuge only 400 milligrams of impure interferon could be extracted from the Buffy coats. In laymen terms, that would be .014 of an ounce. It took about 300 donors to provide less than a quarter teaspoon of powdered interferon needed to treat one patient for three months. That one therapy would cost $30,000. And the lone supplier was the Finnish Red Cross.
The book was written in 1990