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?
- 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?
Fill out a short form-strictly confidential (this becomes your official consent form).
Donate a small sample for tissue typing.
Donate stem cells when matched with a patient.
What is in the form to fill out?
Your address and contact information.
Your brief medical history (all info in these forms is 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 (few drops) is collected from a vein.)
What is done with the collected sample?
DNA is extracted from the sample.
DNA is analyzed for transplantation proteins (HLA type).
HLA type is entered in our data base (with full information about donor).
The database is safe and strictly confidential.
What if a donor matches a patient?
The donor’s DNA is tested further for higher level of matching with a patient.
If donor matches 100% and is able to donate: undergoes extensive medical checkup, if fit, becomes an 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 to the donor other arm
How long does it take to “harvest” the stem cells?
Are there any risks or adverse effects to the donor?
It is painless, only excess stem cells are harvested, these cells are replenished within 2-3 weeks.
Some donors experience mild flu-like symptoms for a few days (the effect of the booster treatment).