What is Reduced-Intensity Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation?
You probably know by now the different types of stem cell transplants, right? There is the autologous transplant which is the process of removing the stem cells directly from the person who is going to receive it and then there’s Allogeneic which is characterized by the giving of stem cells from a donor to the patient.
In this article, we will be talking more about the former, particularly a sub-branch of it if you will. I am specifically referring to the reduced-intensity allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
So, what is It exactly?
To better understand what this is, it is important to tell you first the entire Allogeneic stem cell transplant procedure.
So, the stem cells are extracted from a suitable donor- typically someone from the family like a brother or sister of the patient. Then, the stem cells are frozen to preserve it before it is used for transplantation.
Before the transplanting process begins, the patient must be conditioned first before that happens. The way doctors prime the patient would be to subject them to numerous drugs (sometimes accompanied by some radiation) in order to kill off the remaining deadly cells and so that the body is then ready to receive stem cells that are from other people.
Without the process, there is a huge chance that the patient’s body will just reject the newly transplanted cells. That is precisely the reason why the body has to be weak enough for it to receive any foreign matter.
Reduced-Intensity Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation
Now that you know that the original procedure involves the conditioning phase, what is the difference between reduced-intensity allogeneic transplantation from the original one?
Well, in the conditioning phase, because your body is going to be under heavy stress, some patients may not be able to survive this. This is particularly true for people who are old, people who have other medical conditions, and for people who have a predisposition to certain blood cancers.
Reduced Intensity Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation is essentially the reduction in the intensity of the conditioning phase. Although it is still strong enough to kill cancer cells, it is not that strong that it will have dire consequences for the demographic I’ve listed above.
Where Do Doctors Get the Stem Cells?
Prior to the extraction of the stem cells, the donor will be given a drug that will shake off the stem cells from the bone marrow and so that it will flow in the person’s bloodstream for easier extraction.
That is why the harvested stem cells are known as the “Peripheral Blood Stem Cells” because of its source. However, there are some cases where the stem cells are derived directly from the bone marrow, but in most instances, it is taken from the bloodstream.
It is important to note that the reduced-intensity Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation, although can be useful in some patients, is still considered experimental and a lot of research would need to be done to document its effects and its possible ramifications.