Thousands of people in U.S., every year are diagnosed with different life-threatening diseases like lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma. For such diseases, a stem cell transplant match is the best possible treatment.
However, for the transplant, blood stem cells are required. You might be considering donating bone marrow or blood to help out someone in your family as you happen to be a match. It may also be that you want to help out someone else (who is waiting for a stem cell transplant) who you do not know personally.
When a patient is using stem cells from a matching donor, then the procedure is known as allogeneic transplant. Here it is needed to mention that often times patient can even use their own stem cell, and such a transplant is known as autologous transplant.
Start with a blood test
If you are considering being a donor but do not know how to start the procedure, then firstly you need to find out if you are a match or not. So, you need to have a blood test first. The test is done to figure out your tissue typing or HLA typing. The people conducting the test in a medical lab happen to look at the surface of your blood cell. They are going to compare your blood to the surface of the blood cells belonging to the person who will be getting the mentioned type of transplant.
On the surface of the blood cells, there is your own set of proteins. The lab will look for proteins known as histocompatibility antigens and HLA markers. The lab will look for 10 HLA markers. The result of this test shows how good of a match you are with the person who needs the transplant. You might be able to still donate stem cell to a relative if your cells are a 50% match. This type of transplant, in such a scenario, is known as haploidentical transplant. But if you are not a match, then you won’t be able to be a donor.
Peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC)
Besides collecting blood from bone marrow, embryonic stem cell donation is seen in America. However, PBSC blood stem cell donation is the most common way to collect stem cell from the blood. It happens to be a non-surgical process known as apheresis. You will get filgrastim injection (5 days prior to the donation date) in order to increase you blood stem cells. At the day of the donation, your blood is removed through a needle in one arm. It will pass through a machine that only set to collect the blood-forming cells. Through a needle in your other arm, the remaining blood will be returned to you. The process is kind of similar to normal blood donating procedure. In 1 apheresis session (lasting for 8 hours) 90% of all PBSC donations will be completed. The rest 10% (lasting for 4 and 6 hours) will be completed in 2 apheresis sessions.
Where to donate?
If you want to be a donor for someone else, then you can join a volunteer registry. Before that, you can, of course, speak with a health-care provider to know about the possible side effect and recovery. You can also contact the “National Marrow Donor Program” in order to find a donor center near you. They will ask you some questions (to check if you are healthy to donate or not), and conduct the different tests to ensure that you are eligible for donating and there is no risk of infection to the one looking to get the transplant.
Gift of Life Marrow Registry Address: 800 Yamato Rd suite 101 Boca Raton, FL Phone: (800) 962-7769