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Transplant myths and questions

In the United Kingdom, there appears to be a lack of knowledge about ‘bone marrow transplants’. This knowledge gap could be the reason why we struggle to recruit donors. I had a shortlist of four donors - two from the USA and two from Germany - from which, one perfect match was chosen. Why didn’t my list of potential donors have a UK match? Being in a ward of transplant patients, you soon learn that most donors appear to come from Germany or the USA. What are we doing differently in the UK? The answer may be found in the phrase - “bone marrow transplant”. People hear ‘transplant’ and presume that it involves surgery or an operation. It doesn’t. Even the phrase ‘bone marrow’ is confusing as it is not actually bone marrow that is ‘transplanted’. The official term for my transplant is an allogenic stem cell transplant or a allogeneic volunteer unrelated donor transplant. Allogenic meaning the cells come from a matched related or unrelated donor. Compared to say a autologous stem cell transplant (your own cells are used) or a syngeneic stem cell transplant (cells are taken from an identical twin or triplet). The stem cells are harvested from my donor using a machine not too dissimilar from a dialysis machine. A needle takes blood from one arm - the blood is fed through the machine, and it goes back in your other arm. And as for my transplant? It looked just like this? No surgery, just a drip resembling a bag of blood.