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Author Topic: Bone Marrow Donation  (Read 7503 times)

Offline tweener

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Bone Marrow Donation
« on: 13/01/2004 17:31:06 »
I've been considering signing up to be a bone marrow donor.  Does anyone have any experience or comments to share about this?


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Offline bezoar

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Re: Bone Marrow Donation
« Reply #1 on: 14/01/2004 14:02:30 »
I looked into it once.  Apparently they draw some blood samples and type you, and they you go on a list, and if you're a match for anyone, they call you.  The donation itself requires a hospital visit.  I remember back in the dark ages when I was a young student nurse, then obtaining a bone marrow specimen through the sternum (breastbone) and it was excruciatingly painful.  I think now though, anesthesia is better and you'd just be sore for a while.

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Offline chris

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Re: Bone Marrow Donation
« Reply #2 on: 15/01/2004 00:31:28 »
Just to endorse what Bezoar has said, you can be typed on the basis of a small blood donation (your DNA is extracted from the white cells in the sample). Your details are then entered into a (international) database.

Should someone in the future be a close match for you, your details are retrieved from the database and you are asked whether you might be willing to provide a sample of marrow. The donor and the recipient remain anonymous (unless they know each other of course, as in the case of a sibling donation).

How you actually give the marrow is another matter. Historically marrow in-situ was sucked out by introducing a big trochar into the pelvis and sucking out the cells with a syringe. As you can imagine, boring into your bones with a trochar is extremely painful and usually requires a general anaesthetic.

More recently, however, the need to harvest marrow cells directly from the marrow has been obviated by a new technique that allows the marrow stem cells to be collected from peripheral blood, much like a blood donation.

The chief difference is that, prior to the donation, the donor is given a dose of a growth factor that temporarily stimulates proliferation of bone marrow stem cells. These proliferating cells are ejected into the peripheral blood from whence they are collected. Using a machine, the stem cells are separated from the red blood cells which are returned to the donor. The stem cells are washed, prepared, and transported to the recipient. All that is required is for them to be infused via a vein. The stem cells migrate to the bone marrow, take up residence, colonise, proliferate and re-establish haematopoiesis (sythesis of the components of the blood including red cells, white cells and platelets).

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Offline Donnah

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Re: Bone Marrow Donation
« Reply #3 on: 15/01/2004 01:45:16 »
Hey, that's really interesting!  Maybe I'll sign on for that too.
 

Offline tweener

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Re: Bone Marrow Donation
« Reply #4 on: 15/01/2004 02:58:45 »
Thanks for the info Chris and Nancy.  Most of what I know has come from the National Marrow Donor Program website:  http://www.marrow.org

They have a lot of information, but it seems they are painting a rosy picture.  It would obviously be in their interest to leave out the negatives.




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Offline bezoar

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Re: Bone Marrow Donation
« Reply #5 on: 18/01/2004 13:06:29 »
I didn't know they could now get cells from the peripheral blood.  That should make for a bigger database, although they tell me that they have trouble getting Afro-American volunteers, and I don't think the Afro-Americans can receive white donors.  Are there any side effects from the growth factor, i.e. bone pain?

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Offline chris

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Re: Bone Marrow Donation
« Reply #6 on: 18/01/2004 21:34:20 »
The growth factor is produced by recombinant DNA technology - it is the product of a cloned human gene. The stuff is produced naturally in your own body to promote cell development in the marrow. It tends to be very well tolerated, although not everyone likes the idea of something making their blood cells divide much faster than they should, albeit for a short time.

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Offline tweener

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Re: Bone Marrow Donation
« Reply #7 on: 20/01/2004 04:21:20 »
I've read that bone pain is a side effect of the treatment to stimulate the peripheral blood stem cells.  One site describes the feeling as like having the flu.  Supposedly it goes away within 48 hours of stopping the treatment.

I've also read that in some cases minority patients can receive donations from white donors and vice-versa, though it is more rare to find a good match in another racial group than your own.


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Re: Bone Marrow Donation
« Reply #7 on: 20/01/2004 04:21:20 »

 

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