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Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HPSCT)

Trasplantament òssia Vall d'Hebron

Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HPSCT) is the definitive treatment for many primary immunodeficiency disorders (PID). It is a total replacement of the blood cells in our body. It is also called a bone marrow transplant (BMT).

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The aim of this treatment is to regenerate a haematopoiesis (the process by which the different types of blood cells form, mature, and circulate from stem cells), which has been eliminated by administering drugs or ionizing radiation, followed by the implantation of the donor's immune system, which is able to recognise and attack the malignant cells in the patient. 


In this way, the bone marrow stem cells (factory of the defences) are changed for those of a healthy person (the donor). To undergo this process the patient is admitted to hospital for between one and three months. 


1st step: 

  • Find a compatible donor (one that the body of the receiver will accept). 
  • This donor can be from anywhere in the world.


2nd step: 

  • Conditioning process to make room for the new cells.
  • Admittance to hospital in isolation for approximately three weeks. 
  • Required medication; chemotherapy, which is usually not as strong as traditional chemotherapy. Sometimes radiotherapy. 


3rd step: 

  • Transfuse (the process of passing blood from one person to another, by means of a transfusion) the cells to the receiver. 
  • Wait for engraftment, whereby the new cells attach to the receiver's bone marrow (implantation). 


What complications may arise?

  • Infections: while the cells of the donor are not yet working. 
  • Rejection: the receiver's defence cells attack the donor’s cells. 
  • Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD): The donor's cells attack the receiver's body. 
  • Partial recovery of defences.
  • Need for a blood or a platelet transfusion. 


What do I have to do after the transplant?

  • Regular check-ups during the first year. 
  • Frequent medication recommended by the experts. 
  • A slow return to normal life and complete recovery. 


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