What Is Stem Cell Transplant and What to Expect from It

A stem cell transplant, which is also referred to as a bone marrow transplant, is used for treating several types of cancer. The process might be called cord blood transplant or peripheral stem cell transplant which will depend on the origin of the stem cells. In this article, we will talk about what one can expect from the stem cell transplant process.

Before the transplant

  1. The donor or the patient will be getting injections of special medications approximately 4 days before the blood is drawn. These medications help to move blood-forming stem cells into the bloodstream from the bone marrow.
  2. The blood of the patient or that of the donor is going to be drawn. The stem cells from the bloodstream of the donor or the patient will be separated and frozen.
  3. The patient will receive “conditioning treatment”. It is going to be low-dose or high-dose chemotherapy or radiation. This is intended to destroy the cancer cells as well as the person’s personal stem cells, thus destroying his immune system so that it is possible for the transplanted stem cells to take over.

During the transplant

  1. The stem cells are going to be infused into the body of the person. He will be sitting in a chair for a few hours while the infusion is provided by means of a central line.
  2. The patient will be monitored by nurses. They will make sure that the individual is not developing chills, fever, hives, or a fall in the blood pressure.
  3. The patient might be suffering from some side effects such as nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath or flushing.

Following the transplant

  1. The new immune system of the patient will begin to function. The fresh stem cells will graft to the bone marrow after a couple of weeks, and new white blood cells will be created. Following this, the body of the person will start producing platelets, followed by red blood cells.
  2. In case the patient received donor cells, he will be getting anti-rejection drugs and antibiotics for helping his system accept the cells which were transplanted. He might likewise require intravenous nutrition along with transfusions of platelets and red blood cells.
  3. It is imperative for the patient to remain in an environment free from germs during the first several weeks. In case he had a transplant with donor cells, he might be needed to stay at the hospital for 1 month or so until his new immune system begins to function. He will require filtered air and it is essential for his visitors to put on masks.
  4. It is compulsory for the patient to visit the outpatient clinic for 6 months at regular intervals. His blood will be tested by the transplant staff for checking any complications and also whether the blood cells are healthy and to what extent. Following this, the personal doctor of the patient will go on caring for him.

During recovery from the transplant

It is quite natural for the patient to feel tired during the first several weeks. He might take even months prior to resuming his normal activities. Blood will be drawn by the doctor after a couple of months for verifying whether he is generating all types of blood cells. Meanwhile, the physician will also make certain that the patient is not suffering from any type of major complication.

Gift of Life Marrow Registry Also Offers Following Services :

 Leukemia Bone Marrow Transplant

Stem Cell Donor Registry

Blood Cancer Bone Marrow Transplant

Contact US:

Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Address:  800 Yamato Rd suite 101  Boca Raton, FL
Phone: (800) 962-7769

How to Become a Stem Cell Donor

The transplant of stem cells of a healthy person to someone having blood cancer can be the only way for the survival of the patient if the type of their tissues is compatible. These stem cells are collected from the bloodstream, blood from the umbilical cord or bone marrow. The information provided here under can help in determining whether you can be a stem cell transplant or not.

Eligibility for donating stem cells

  • You can be a stem cell donor if you have good health and are aged between 16 and 30 years
  • The compatibility of the tissue types of the donor and patient can be found through a blood test instead of doing bone marrow biopsy or taking any tissue from the body of the donor.

To ensure the compatibility of the tissues of the donor and the patient, it is not necessary to match the type of their blood. Certain special markers in the blood of the patient are matched with the markers in the blood of the donor. The donor can donate the stem cells if the markers of the patient and that of the donor are the same.

From where stem cells are collected

The type of tissues of the patient and donor is determined by the genetic information of both the parents as everyone has tissues of a unique type. The type of tissues is different for every individual in this world unless two persons are twins and identical. The chances of matching tissue types between the siblings are almost 25% as every child inherits half genes from his father and a half from his mother.  Actually, genes of nearly 30% of siblings match for donating stem cells.

Other options to collect stem cells

  • Though identical twins can donate stem cells to each other but it is very uncommon
  • The tissue types of patient and donor should match even if they are unrelated
  • Blood from the umbilical cord can also be used to collect stem cells through a program for banking cord blood.

Join the stem cell registry

In order to become a stem cell donor, you will have to join an online register. When you fill-up an online form then you will be provided with a swab pack by post. You will have to send it back to the register after completing it so that you can be registered as a stem cell donor.

Until you are aged to 61 years you will remain on the donor’s register. You will be contacted to donate stem cells if your stem cells match with some patients. So you should update your details whenever required.

The organizers of the register will take care of everything from accommodation to traveling expenses whenever you will be called for donating stem cells.

You will be asked to donate stem cells in two ways: through your bloodstream or from your bone marrow transplant. Usually, people prefer to donate stem cells through their bloodstream but you can also donate it through your bone marrow under general anesthesia.

Contact US:

Gift of Life Marrow Registry

Address: 800 Yamato Rd suite 101 Boca Raton, FL
Phone: (800) 962-7769