HSCT (Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation)

HSCT (Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation) is a procedure that has six main parts part one invloves combination of drugs are given to encourage your stem cells to move from your bone marrow and into your blood stream so they can be collected. you will be given an infusion (drip) of a chemotherapy drug (cyclophosphamide) and injections of a synthetic form of a natural growth factor called G-CSF (granulocyte-colony stimulating factor) the next stage can then begin. This involves collecting (or harvesting) your stem cells, it typically happens about 10 days after, once blood tests have shown that there are enough stem cells present in your bloodstream. This can take between half a day and a whole day. You are connected to a machine which collects your blood through a needle in your arm, separates out the stem cells and then returns all the other components of the blood to your body. The next stage involves Freezing the collected stem cells ready to be returned to your body Stage four of the process is another round of chemotherapy, known as conditioning chemotherapy, this gets your body ready for the return of your stem cells. It may involve either completely wiping out (myeloablative or high intensity chemotherapy) or partially eliminating (non-myeloablative or low intensity chemotherapy) your bone marrow and immune system, hopefully destroying the cells that are involved in MS disease activity. This stage usually takes several days and you may need to take drugs to control any nausea and vomiting which are common side effects of the chemotherapy. You may also be given steroids to dampen down any immune reactions. once you have been through all this stage five is  transplantation, returning the frozen stem cell collected from your body. this is done by infusion (drip). This is usually a couple of days after the conditioning chemotherapy and will only be done once all the chemotherapy drugs have cleared from your system. It takes a couple of hours. The stem cells make their way to your bone marrow and should start making new blood and immune cells within 10 to 30 days. During that 10 to 30 day period, you have, in effect, no immune system. the final stage is recovery. HSCT is a complex, aggressive procedure and recovery can take a considerable length of time. recovery time is typically between three to six months. although some people can take up to a year or more to fully recover.