What is a stem cell and peripheral blood bone marrow transplant?

What is a stem cell?

Most stem cells are found in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is a soft, spongelike material in the centre of our bones.

Stem cells have the ability to grow into all other blood cell types, including red blood cells which carry oxygen, white blood cells which fight infection and platelets which stop bleeding.

What is a peripheral blood bone marrow transplant?

A peripheral blood bone marrow transplant is a multi-step process which involves ‘mobilising’ stem cells from your bone marrow then ‘collecting’ these cells from your blood stream. The stem cells are returned back to you at a later date following high dose chemotherapy. Not everyone proceeds to the high dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant.

Doses of chemotherapy are normally limited due to the toxic effects on the bone marrow and blood counts. Peripheral blood bone marrow transplant allows high doses of chemotherapy to be given safely.

Bone marrow collections are performed on consecutive days. On average it takes three bone marrow collection procedures to obtain enough stem cells for a transplant.

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