Unstimulated leukapheresis

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If the patient’s disease recurs prematurely after a stem cell transplantation, an additional transfusion of donor lymphocytes is often needed.

Lymphocytes are relatively “aggressive” cells which can attract newly formed cancer cells while also strengthening the patient’s immune system.

Donor lymphocytes are retrieved in the same way as peripheral stem cells. Here too, a venous line is connected from your arms to an apheresis machine. The blood leaves the body on one side, passes through the cell separator, and re-enters your body through the other arm.

A fundamental difference between this approach and peripheral stem cell donation is the fact that no drug stimulation is necessary here. This is due to the fact that mature lymphocytes are always freely available in the blood, and the process of collecting them can be completed within a single day. As a result, there are very few potential side effects for donors. After the donation, you may feel tired and fatigued.

As a rule, the donor’s lymphocytes are usually frozen (cryopreservation) and given to the patient gradually.