Transplant Procedures & Post Transplant
When do the donor stem cells get harvested?
The stem cells are harvested the day the patient receives them. If the stem cells are from an unrelated donor, a courier delivers the stem cells to the transplant center the day the recipient receives it. Umbilical cord blood cells are collected after a baby is born (from the placenta, not from the newborn). They are frozen and stored in a cord blood bank until they are needed for a patient's transplant. Autologous stem cells are collected before the transplant and frozen. They are thawed and infused on the day of transplant.
How are stem cells infused?
The stem cells are generally infused through the IV catheter that the patient has been receiving all other fluids and medications through. This is similar to a blood transfusion.
What is T-cell depletion?
There are various methods used to remove T-cell lymphocytes from the collected cells. It is used as a means to prevent graft-versus-host disease. The use of T-cell depletion varies depending on diagnosis, type of transplant and transplant center. This process is not used with cord blood. It is one of several techniques to help prevent graft versus host disease (GVHD) after the transplant.
How long can stem cells be stored?
Indefinitely, or at least for a few years. At this time most transplant centers only harvest and store stem cells for patients who will need a blood or marrow transplant.
When is the best time for stem cells to be harvested?
This depends on the clinical scenario. For example, we consider what disease is being treated, if bone marrow is involved and such.
What about my pets? Do I need to get rid of them when I go home?
Policies about people keeping their pets post-transplant vary by center. Some centers allow you to keep your pets provided you exercise caution after spending time with them. Do not change cat litter boxes or purchase any new pets during your first 100 days post transplant. Check with your BMT center about any questions you may regarding pets.