HSCT – Day 9 – Stem cell harvesting

Today it’s time to start collecting some of the stem cells that has been released into my blood stream during the previous days.

Dr. Denis Fedorenko and me shaking hands

To manage to do this they connect me to a blood collection machine via the neck catheter they gave me yesterday. The machine they use is called MCS+, which are produced by a company called Haemonetics. I also noticed they had the machine connected to a UPS, in case of a power outage, so that was nice, who knows right? 😀

How it works

Once I’m all hooked up, the machine will start to draw blood from me, and separate it into three different bags. The machine separates the blood serum into one bag and blood cells to another and extracts this kind of concentrate which contains the stem cells, into a third separate bag. The process works in cycles, so it’s not continuously drawing blood from your body. It draws up a certain amount, processes it, collects the stem cells and reinfuse the rest of the blood back into your body. It does this in cycles over and over again, until it has processed a preconfigured amount of blood.

As you can see from the picture, during this first session the machine processed 8,2 liters of my blood. After analyzing the “stem cell extract” in the lab, they found out that I had harvested about 140 million stem cells during this session. Which means I have collected about half of the cells I need before I can begin with chemo.

Julianne explains how it works

aHSCT stem cell harvesting in progress

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