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 be collected.

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 apheresis machine.


Spectra Apheresis System


Patient/Donor Information







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).