6/14/2007: Almost Perfect Match


"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." -- Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
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A call Thursday from Dr. R. Nakamura, my attending physician at City of Hope, brought the good news we had hoped soon to hear:
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The donor match is all but assured with 9 of 9 DNA variables matching! A 10th test is being conducted and, if that is also a match, we will have found the best possible donor match for my allogeneic stem cell transplant (SCT) from an unrelated donor.
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For a complete view of SCT, consult this source provided by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:"One of the early steps for SCT patients involves high-dose chemotherapy and radiation thatdestroys existing bone marrow and stem cells.
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That's why the SCT is required: To bringhealthy cells from a donor to the patient for the purpose of rebuilding the immune system.
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"The source for the earliest transplants was the marrow of a healthy donor who had the same tissue type (HLA type) as the patient. Usually, the source was a brother or sister. Donor programs have been established to identify an unrelated donor who has a tissue type that matches that of a patient. This approach requires screening tens of thousands of unrelated individuals of similar ethnicity to the patient."
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[I am the beneficiary of that HLA typing because an almost perfect match (9 of 10 variables confirmed to match with the 10th variable still in testing as of this date).]
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The transplant is achieved by infusing a very small fraction of the marrow cells called “stem cells.” Stem cells not only reside in the marrow but a small number also circulate in the blood. They can be harvested from the blood by treating the donor with agents that cause a release of larger numbers of stem cells into the blood and collecting them by a process called hemapheresis.
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"Since blood and marrow are both good sources of stem cells for transplantation, the term “stem cell transplantation” has replaced bone marrow transplantation as the general term for this procedure."

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