Stem Cell Mobilization and Collection
During this phase, patients undergo the stem cell collection
process. There are several steps in this phase:
1. Cenrtal venous catheter placement:
In order to collect stem cells from the blood stream, we require
the placement of a special intravenous catheter which enables the
apheresis machine to draw blood out of your body and return it to
your body at high rates. This increases the efficiency of the
collection process. This catheter will also be used for the
administration of the high dose chemotherapy, drawing all blood
work, and the stem cell transplant. It may be removed shortly after
your discharge from the transplant admission.
The catheter will be inserted by our Interventional
Radiologists who specialize on placing these lines. The
catheter requires special care; the SCT Unit nurses will teach you
how to care for the catheter. You will be given a prescription for
the supplies necessary to care for your catheter.
2. Stem cell mobilization:
Stem cells are normally located inside your bone marrow. There
are 2 techniques which can be used to cause the stem cell to move
from the marrow and out into the blood stream where they can easily
1) G-CSF shots: G-CSF is a hormone that stimulates the bone
marrow to grow very rapidly; when this occurs, stem cells move out
into the blood stream in large numbers.
2) Chemotherapy plus G-CSF: Certain types of chemotherapy cause
the marrow to spill stem cells into the blood stream as the body
recovers from the chemotherapy. When G-CSF is given after this
chemotherapy more stem cells are collected. Mobilization
chemotherapy has the added advantage of getting rid of more cancer
before the transplant and may help to increase the chances of cure.
3. Stem cell apheresis:
In order to collect the stem cells from the blood after one of
the mobilization techniques, one must use a machine called an
This instrument is a computerized centrifuge that collects a
small amount of blood from your body.
Once the blood is in the machine it is spun at high speeds
which separates the blood into different layers.
The machine is programmed to collect
the layer containing the stem cells.
The portion of the blood not containing
stem cells is returned back to you. This procedure usually takes 3-5
hours. Typically it is done daily for 2-3 days.
Click here to go to the next
phase (stem cell processing and storage).