1. Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation

Stem cells are collected via the blood stream. This is a non-surgical outpatient procedure that takes around four hours and is the method used for around 90% of donations. To increase the number of cells in the blood stream, for four consecutive days prior to the stem cell collection, donors receive a daily injection to stimulate stem cell production (G-CSF). On the day of donation, the donor’s blood is collected from one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood stem cells (apheresis). The remaining blood is returned to the donor through the other arm.

2 . Bone Marrow Donation

Marrow cells are collected from the back side of the pelvic bone. Donors are given a general anaesthetic so no pain is experienced during the marrow extraction. This is a 1-2 hour medical procedure. Some donors experience some short term pain, bruising and stiffness after the pocedure. Within a week of donating, most donors are able to return to work or school and resume their usual activities. There are many reports of donors experiencing little or no pain and discomfort and going back to work the following day. This method of donation is less used, only around 10% of the time.

What’s the difference between a stem cell transplant and a bone marrow transplant?

The only real distinction is in the method of collecting the stem cells.

Stem cells are versatile cells with the ability to divide and develop into many other kinds of cells. Hematopoietic stem cells produce red blood cells, which deliver oxygen throughout the body, white blood cells which help ward off infections and platelets, which allow blood to clot and wounds to heal.

Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the bone marrow, the spongy material inside the bones. Some of the hematopoietic stem cells circulate from the marrow into the bloodstream. When the cells are found there, they are called peripheral blood stem cells. While chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy are essential treatments for the majority of cancer patients, high doses can severely weaken, and even wipe-out, healthy stem cells. That’s where stem cell transplantation comes in.

Stem cell transplantation is a general term that describes stem cell transplantation procedures that come from either the bone marrow or the blood.

When stem cells are collected from bone marrow and transplanted into a patient, the procedure is known as a bone marrow transplant. If the transplanted stem cells came from the bloodstream, the procedure is called a peripheral blood stem cell transplant, or simply a stem cell transplant.

Whether you hear someone talking about a “stem cell transplant” or a “bone marrow transplant,” they are still referring to stem cell transplantation. The only diference is where in the body the transplanted stem cells came from. The transplants themselves are the same.

Contact us

For more information please email us at becurious@givingtohelpothers.org