The processes of an allogeneic stem cell transplant
The first step
The first step in an allogeneic stem cell transplant is determining if the transplant is needed and the risks justified. This is often a complex decision which is dependent on your age and general health and whether this type of transplant is the best treatment for you. Your decision about this transplant will come only after multiple detailed discussions with your transplant specialist to ensure this is the best decision for you.
The second step
The second step is to start a search for a donor. It is only after identifying an available and suitable donor that the final decision about the transplant is made by you and your specialist.
The third step
This involves two processes which occur at the same time. Your donor receives the same G-CSF injections that a person receiving an autologous stem cell transplant receives. After 3-4 days, when the stem cell concentration in the blood is suitable, their stem cells are collected by the apheresis process.
At the same time the person receiving the donation is given chemotherapy, occasionally in combination with radiotherapy. The chemotherapy doses can vary between moderate to high dose treatment. There are two reasons we give you this treatment. Firstly, it reduces the number of cancer cells in your body, and secondly, it suppresses your immune system. This ensures your body’s defences do not attack and reject the donor cells after they are transplanted.
The fourth step
This involves the infusion of the freshly collected donated cells into your bloodstream. These stem cells end up in the bone marrow and start producing new blood cells. Most patients are discharged within a week of their blood counts recovering. They can then recover from their treatment at home.
Issues after transplant
An allogeneic stem cell transplant is a complex procedure and can result in some issues. Your treatment team will work with you to prevent, minimise or treat these potential issues.