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FAQ's

1.What kinds of diseases can be treated by a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell transplant? 
Stem cell or marrow transplant may be the best treatment option or the only potential cure for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, inherited immune disorders, bone marrow diseases and hemoglobinopathies to name a few.


2.What is a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant?
Healthy marrow and blood cells are needed to sustain life.  When disease affects the marrow so that it cannot function properly, a morrow or PBSC transplant could be the best treatment option, and for some patients, offers the only potential cure.  


A marrow or PBSC transplant takes a donor’s healthy blood forming or stem cells and puts them into the patient’s bloodstream where they begin to grow and make healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.  Patients receive high doses of chemotherapy to prepare their body for the transplant.  Then on the transplant day, the patient receives the donated cells in a process that is like getting blood or medicine through an intravenous (IV) catheter or tube.


3. Where do the healthy cells come from?
Cells can be donated from someone else, either from an adult donor or a cord blood unit stored for public use, or a patient may be able to use their own blood forming cells.


An autologous transplant is when a person’s own cells are used. These cells are collected from the patient’s bloodstream and stored for transplant.  Autologous transplant may be an option for patients with certain diseases.


An allogeneic transplant is when cells from a family member, unrelated donor or umbilical cord blood are used for transplant.  Depending on the patient’s disease and health status their doctor may recommend an autologous or an allogeneic transplant.  Seven out of 10 patients do not have a matching donor in their family.  Their doctor will then turn to the National Marrow Donor Program or Gift of Life registry for help in finding an unrelated donor that matches their patient.


4. Myths and facts about bone marrow or stem cell donation

Donors between the ages of 18-44 provide the greatest chance for transplant success.  These age
guidelines are not meant to discriminate.  They are to protect the safey of the donor and provide the best possible
outcome for the patient.  Donors on the registry are allowed to donate up until age 60.  There have been cases of donors older than 44 donating successfully, however, statistically speaking, 18-44 year olds are called to donate 90% of the time.


5. Patients are most likely to match someone who shares their ancestry;
Today there simply aren’t enough registry members of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.  Adding more diverse members will increase the likelihood that all patients will find a life-saving match.


6. What happens once I am called to donate?
You will participate in an information session with your Donor Coordinator.  You will be given detailed information about the donation procedure, recovery process, including risks and side effects.  If you agree to donate you will sign a consent form.

You will then have a physical exam which will include a chest x-ray, EKG, blood samples and a physical exam by a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to make sure the donation will be safe for both you and the patient.


7. Donation type- PBSC or Marrow:
There are two methods of donation, PBSC and bone marrow. The patient’s doctor will choose which one is best for the patient.  We perform PBSC collections here, bone marrow collections are done in a hospital.


8. PBSC Donation:
For 5 days leading up to your donation, you will be given injections of filgrastim.  Filgrastim is a medication that increases the number of blood forming cells in your bloodstream.  On the day of donation, blood is removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine the spins and separates out the blood forming or stem cells that are needed for transplant.  The remaining blood is returned to you through an IV catheter in the other arm.


9. What to Expect:
The apheresis procedure normally takes between 4-6 hours.  Please note: Donation time is different for everyone and this timing may differ for you. Stem cell collections are performed using one rigid metal needle and one IV catheter.  The arm with the metal needle will need to remain straight during the collection.


Movement is allowed, just no bending at the elbow.  In the other arm, an IV catheter is placed.  This is usually placed somewhere in the forearm, wrist or hand.  This arm will have complete freedom of movement.  This arm can be used to access a cell phone, computer, eat finger foods, etc.


10. What should you wear?
Comfortable, loose fitting clothing like sweat pants, shorts, short sleeved shirts etc.  Don’t wear anything with a lot of buckles, belts, buttons, zippers etc.  We have a blanket warmer so warm blankets are provided to keep you warm and comfortable.


11. Room type:  open, shared room.  There are curtains used as dividers to provide privacy if needed.


12. Positioning:  We have both beds and recliner chairs.  Donors recline or lay down during the procedure with plenty of pillows and blankets for comfort.


13. Bathroom:  We provide hand held urinals for men and a bedside commode for women.  Donors are assisted to the bedside then curtains pulled for complete privacy.  Since the donor has one arm that is moveable they are able to take care of rest room needs in private.  We do not use bedpans or urinary catheters.


14. Entertainment:  Each bed has it’s own TV which has basic cable and is connected to its own DVD player.  We have an extensive, up-to-date DVD library and headphones with splitter if the donor’s guest would like to watch movies with the donor.  Free WiFi is provided if the donor or guest would like to make use of that.  The donor may bring their own tablet, laptop, iPod, cell phone etc for use during the collection.  


15. Meals:
We do not provide meals for the donor or companion. There is a local deli and a 7-11 which are both within walking distance.  Donors and/or guests may get breakfast at the deli before the collection starts.  Donors are welcome to bring snacks or finger foods with them to eat during the collection.  There are no restrictions with regards to eating and drinking during the
collection.  In the large majority of cases, donors are off the machine in time to go have lunch at a location of their choosing.


16. Parking:
The building has free parking for both donors and companions.  There is a parking garage attached to our building.  It is easiest if you come up to the top level of the garage and walk in the door located at the top of the garage.  We are the third door on the right as you enter the office building, Suite 220.


17. Can I bring a guest with me:
Yes, one guest can be allowed per donor in the collection area. They may stay for the entire collection. If others would like to come and visit, they can always switch out while someone waits in the lobby.  Please no children younger than 12 allowed in the collection area!