E-wareness: Stem Cell Transplants

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STEM CELL TRANSPLANTS

(September 2015)

 

Campaign Coordinator: Roy Glickman

 

ROY’S MESSAGE:

When we think of transplants, typically we think about a donated organ–a kidney, a liver, or even a heart. All are life-saving procedures which are easy to comprehend. If a kidney fails, a new one can take its place. Stem cell transplants, also often referred to as bone marrow transplants, are a different type of “transplant,” but with the same life-saving possibilities.

Until October 2011, I knew little about stem cell transplants. It seemed like a futuristic concept, something on the cutting edge of medical science. Then I was diagnosed with a rare blood disease and I learned first-hand about the life-saving procedure of transplanting healthy stem cells to repair diseased bone marrow. A stem cell transplant was the only treatment available to me for that rare and incurable blood disease.

Stem cell transplant procedures were originally developed in the 1960’s and 70’s at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle. That research showed that bone marrow cells infused intravenously could repopulate the bone marrow and produce new healthy blood cells. These cells either come from a donor (referred to as an allogeneic transplant) or from the patient’s own cells (an autologous transplant). Today, more than 50,000 transplants are performed each year worldwide, saving the lives of people with diseases which have no other cure. It is not without significant risk, but as the procedure has become better understood and more refined increasing numbers of patients are able to overcome life-threatening diseases.

I hope the information in this program will raise awareness of this vital procedure.

 

LINKS TO IMPORTANT ONLINE INFORMATION:

For some good short explanations of the bone marrow transplant process, these sites are very useful:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/stem-cell-transplant/basics/definition/PRC-20013565?p=1

https://bethematch.org/Transplant-Basics/How-transplants-work/

This site explains the diseases that can be treated with a bone marrow transplant:

https://bethematch.org/Transplant-Basics/How-transplants-work/Diseases-treatable-by-transplants/

This site explains how donors and patients are matched and explains the importance of race, ethnicity, and age in the matching process:

https://bethematch.org/Transplant-Basics/Matching-patients-with-donors/

This site contains an interesting slide show presentation of the timeline of a transplant for both the donor and the patient:

https://bethematch.org/Transplant-Basics/Timeline-of-a-transplant/

Finally, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has a very good website and they have a downloadable 56 page book with a complete guide for patients and family members called Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplantation. This was an excellent resource for me when I went had my transplant and I highly recommend it for more detailed information about the process.

http://www.lls.org/sites/default/files/file_assets/f-73-14-7405621_AvrIWIiW_bloodmarrowstemcelltransplantation.pdf

 

PROGRAM AND VIDEOS:

The centerpiece of this E-wareness Campaign is the weekly online Program for Monday, September 14, and we ask you to CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE INFORMATION.

 

FOR THE FUTURE:

Stem cell transplants have steadily increased in importance over the 50 years since they were first developed. The number of diseases which can be treated with transplants has increased and the type of patient who can receive a transplant has expanded dramatically. At one time, stem cell transplants were limited to patients not older than their 30’s. Now patients in their 60’s and 70’s can receive transplants. Some transplants are even being done now on an outpatient basis. As transplant techniques and drugs continue to improve, stem cell transplantation will play an expanding role in curing life-threatening blood diseases and other cancers.

 

THE ROTARY E-CLUB OF THE GREATER SAN FERNANDO VALLEY asks you take a look at more of our website, especially the PROJECTS tab, and invites local visitors to contact us for more information about joining our fun, active, flexible team.

The opinions expressed by guest speakers are those of the speaker(s) and not necessarily of the Rotary E-Club of The Greater San Fernando Valley or its members. No endorsement is implied. Programs are presented for informational purposes only.

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2 responses to E-wareness: Stem Cell Transplants

  1. I’m very intrigued to learn more about it. Thank you for sharing your personal story.

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