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Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Doctors


What is hematopoietic stem cell?
If cells can renew themselves through division and matured into different types of cells, then they can be considered as stem cells. A group of undifferentiated stem cells can give rise to cells in our blood and immune system including red blood cells for delivering oxygen element, platelets for blood clotting, white blood cells for infection and lymphocytes for antibody production. Hematopoietic stem cells can be found in bone marrow and umbilical cord blood. Hematopoietic stem cells can also be found in peripheral blood in trace amount.
Where is hematopoietic stem cell from?
Hematopoietic stem cell is just like blood. These cells can renew themselves and can be found in bone marrow and umbilical cord blood. Traceable amount of these stem cells can be found in peripheral blood.
What is stem cell transplant?
Stem cell transplant is done by firstly destroying the recipients own abnormal bone marrow then injecting healthy bone marrow into the vein with intravenous drip. If the transplant is successful, then the healthy bone marrow will migrate to tissues in the bone and start producing normal blood cells.
What are the different ways of transplanting stem cells?
Based on the graft of stem cells, transplant can be either autologous (use patients own hematopoietic stem cell extract) or allogeneic (hematopoietic stem cell from a healthy donor). The source of these hematopoietic stem cells can be from bone marrow, peripheral blood or umbilical cord blood. The hematopoietic stem cells collected will be infused into the vein after patient has undergone conditioning regimen.
Who needs hematopoietic stem cell transplant?
Patients with chronic or acute myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, severe aplastic anemia, thalassemia, immunodeficiency, or other solid tumors (ie. Multiple myeloma, breast cancer, bone cancer, etc.) may benefit from this treatment. Known indications of hematopoietic stem cell transplant to date are approximately seventy.
What is umbilical cord blood transplant?
Umbilical cord blood has a high concentration of hematopoietic stem cells. Umbilical cord blood required to be collected within 15 minutes after birth and stored at -196C in a liquid nitrogen container. When patient is matched with the stem cells of the umbilical cord blood sample, the blood will then be defrosted for infusion.
What is mini stem cell transplant?
This technique is for elderly or vital condition patients. Because this group of patients cannot tolerate high-dose chemotherapy, the dose of chemotherapy is reduced in conditioning for transplant. Healthy immune cells from donor may result in severe reactions due to its effects against host tumor so the transplant should be done only when the patient has been in complete remission.


Update: Oct. 2009

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