The Difference Between Marrow and PBSC Donation
So far Tami's doctors have said she will need a stem cell or PBSC (Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation) donor. What is PBSC and how is it different from marrow donation?
There are TWO ways of giving your adult stem cells to a patient in need:
PBSC: 70% of the time donors are asked to give stem cells through their blood using a method called PBSC. To increase the number of blood-forming cells in the bloodstream, donors receive daily injections of a drug called filgrastim for five days before the collection.
A simplified illustration of the PBSC process.
While lying in bed with your arms at your sides your blood is then removed through a sterile needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells. This process is similar to donating plasma. The remaining blood is returned to you. It will probably take at least two harvesting sessions, with each lasting several hours to harvest the required number of stem cells. You can even watch tv or a movie while the harvest takes place. (more info here)
PBSC Risks: Fewer than 1% of PBSC donors experience a serious side effect from the donation process.
PBSC donation may require placement of a central line if you do not have suitable arm veins. A central line will be placed only with your consent after you have received information about the possible risks.
Another potential risk is associated with filgrastim injections. Though filgrastim is commonly used to treat cancer patients, the use of filgrastim in healthy donors is fairly new. Therefore, no data are yet available about the long-term safety. The NMDP began using filgrastim to aid in transplants in the 1990s. Since then, no NMDP donors have reported any long-term complications from filgrastim injections. (From the NMDP website)
Bone Marrow: 30% of the time, you are asked to give stem cells through your bone marrow. The majority of boen marrow donations are for children as they experience a higher success rate from marrow rather then PBSC.
Bone marrow donation is a surgical procedure. While you receive anesthesia, doctors use special, hollow needles to withdraw liquid marrow from the back of your pelvic bones. Many donors receive a transfusion of their own previously donated blood.