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Frequently asked questions

How do bone marrow stem cells help certain patients?
Patients with some kind of blood illnesses have damaged and defective blood cells. This is due to their defective bone marrow stem cells. Replacing their bone marrow stem cells with new and healthy ones allows them to have a continuous supply of healthy and functional blood cells.

What are the most common blood related illnesses?
Malignant: Different types of Leukemia (AML, CML, etc.) Lymphoma
Non- malignant: Aplastic anemia, Genetically inherited anemias, Fanconi anemia

What is the usual treatment?
Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy: destroy cancerous cells, patient goes into remission.
Potential problems: treatment may destroy healthy cells. Sometimes the cancer returns (relapse).

Stem cell transplantation: establish healthy stem cells in the patient’s bone marrow, healthy 
stem cells produce healthy blood cells.

Can I apply to be a stem cell donor?

Yes, if:

  • your age is between 18 and 45 years
  • you are generally healthy (no cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, HIV, etc. )
  • you have donated blood at least once 
  • you undertake stem cell donation to any patient if needed

What is HLA?
It is a set of proteins that characterizes the tissue of each person. It is determined by each person’s genetics and is inherited from both parents. It is unique to each individual - much like a fingerprint.

Why are donors from the same ethnic groups more likely to be a better match?
Members of the same ethnic group are genetically closer to each other, therefore, they are more likely to have the same HLA profile.

How does one become a donor?
Apply to the nearest Donor Center where preliminary blood tests will be performed. You can find the address list on our website. Fill out a short form - it is strictly confidential. This becomes your official consent form. Donate a small sample for tissue typing. If you are a match with a patient, you will be chosen from the database and will be asked for another tissue typing for higher resolution If it is also a match in that level then you will undergo an extensive medical check-up. If everything is all right then you can donate stem cells in the Hospital for the patient.

What is in the form to fill out?
Your address and contact information, your weight and height, the number of your possible pregnancies and/or transfusions. Here you can indicate which intervention you are taking as a stem cell donor. All information in these forms are strictly confidential.

How to donate a sample for HLA typing?
Anyone who is healthy and has already been determined in a previous blood donation to be a suitable stem cell donor, can give blood sample for typing HLA.
Blood sample: a very small amount of blood which is collected from a vein.

What is done with the collected blood sample which was taken for HLA typing?
DNA is extracted from the sample and is analyzed for transplantation proteins (HLA type).
HLA type is entered into our data base.
The database is safe and strictly confidential.

What if a donor matches a patient?
The donor’s DNA is tested further for higher level.
If donor matches also in higher resolution and is able to donate, he/she undergoes extensive medical check up and if he/she is suitable, becomes the actual donor.

What is the procedure of an actual  PBSC donation?
The donor is given a stimulant to increase the number of stem cells circulating in blood.
An intravenous cannula is placed in his/her both arms, blood is drawn from one arm, stem cells circulating in blood are separated and collected via an apheresis machine, the blood is returned into the donor other arm.

How long does it take to “harvest” the stem cells?
For about 3-4 hours.

Are there any risks or adverse effects of the PBSC harvest to the donor?

The stem cell harvest is painless and only a portion is taken out. These cells are replenished within 2-3 weeks.
Some donors experience mild flu-like symptoms for a few days. This is the side effect of the GCSF treatment.

What is the procedure of an actual BM donation?

In this case stem cells are extracted from the hip bone under anesthesia or spinal anesthesia. This procedure requires a 2-3 day hospital stay.