Bone marrow or stem cell transplants for AML | Cancer …

Posted: June 24, 2015 at 9:42 pm

Having someone elses marrow or stem cells is called a donor transplant, or an allogeneic transplant. This is pronounced al-lo-jen-ay-ik.

The donors bone marrow cells must match your own as closely as possible. The most suitable donor is usually a close relative, such as a brother or sister. It is sometimes possible to find a match in an unrelated donor. Doctors call this a matched unrelated donor (MUD). To find out if there is a suitable donor for you, your doctor will contact The Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register and other UK based and international bone marrow registers.

To make sure that your donors cells match, you and the donor will have blood tests. These are to see how many of the proteins on the surface of their blood cells match yours. This is called tissue typing or HLA matching. HLA stands for human leucocyte antigen.

Once you have a donor and are in remission, you have high dose chemotherapy either on its own or with radiotherapy. A week later the donor goes into hospital and their stem cells or marrow are collected. You then have the stem cells or bone marrow as a drip through your central line.

If you've had a transplant from a donor, there is a risk of graft versus host disease (GVHD). This happens because the transplanted stem cells or bone marrow contain cells from your donor's immune system. These cells can sometimes recognise your own tissues as being foreign and attack them. This can be an advantage because the immune cells may also attack any leukaemia cells left after your treatment.

Acute GVHD starts within 100 days of the transplant and can cause

If you develop GVHD after your transplant, your doctor will prescribe medicines to damp down this immune reaction. These are called immunosuppressants.

Chronic GVHD starts more than 100 days after the transplant and you may have

Your doctor is likely to suggest that you stay out of the sun because GVHD skin rashes can often get worse in the sun.

There is detailed information about graft versus host disease in the section about coping physically with cancer.

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Bone marrow or stem cell transplants for AML | Cancer ...

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