What is a stem cell?
Most stem cells are found in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is a soft, sponge-like 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 haematopoietic (blood) stem cell?
Haematopoietic stem cells are a unique type of cell, found in bone marrow, which have the ability to grow into all other blood cell types including oxygen-carrying red blood cells, infection-fighting white blood cells and platelets which stop bleeding.
What is a peripheral blood stem cell transplant?
A peripheral blood stem cell transplant is a method which involves ‘mobilising’ stem cells from your bone marrow by administering white blood cell growth factors, followed by ‘collecting’ these cells from your blood stream. Stem cell collection generally needs to be performed on three consecutive days in order to obtain enough stem cells for a transplant.
The stem cells are transfused back into your body after you receive radiation therapy or high dose chemotherapy. This reduces the toxic effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy on the bone marrow and blood counts. This means high doses of chemotherapy are able to be given safely.