Stem Cell Transplant Facts

Stem Cell Transplantation for Children

Children diagnosed with a disease where their bone marrow becomes replaced by abnormal or cancer cells, such as leukemia, or their own bone marrow cells are unable to grow, divide and function normally, a stem cell transplant is often the only curative treatment. Stem cell transplantation means new bone marrow “stem cells” are given to the child to replace the abnormal and/or cancer cells. Before the stem cell transplant, children are first given treatment such as chemotherapy and/or radiation to destroy the abnormal cells, making “space” for the new stem cells, and to prevent their own bodies from rejecting the new cells.

The Five Types of Stem Cell Transplants

Bone Marrow Transplants
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplants
Stem Cell Transplants
Hemopoietic Cell Transplants
Hemopoietic Progenitor Cell Transplants

The Type of Transplant depends on the Donor Cell Source

Autologous Transplant – Transplanted cells come from the child’s own peripheral (circulating) blood.

Allogeneic Transplant: Transplanted cells come from a donor who is family member or is an unrelated volunteer donor.

Syngeneic Transplant: Transplanted cells come from an identical twin sibling (this is a type of allogeneic transplant).

Cord Blood: Transplanted cells come from the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born. This blood is rich in blood-forming cells (this is a type of allogeneic transplant).

Mixed Chimerism Transplant: Transplanted cells come from either a related or unrelated donor. The transplant takes place after the child has a moderate dose of chemotherapy and radiation.

Bone Marrow donation verses Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) collection

Bone Marrow donation is a surgical procedure performed in a hospital under anesthesia, doctors use special, hollow needles to withdraw liquid marrow, filled with stem cells, from the pelvic bones.

Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) is a non-surgical procedure. For 5 days leading up to donation, a donor given injections of filgrastim, a medication that increases the number of blood-forming cells in the bloodstream. On the day of donation, blood is removed through a needle on one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming stem cells. The remaining blood is returned to the donor through the other arm.


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