On rare occasions, we may ask a donor to donate lymphocytes as well, to prevent or treat a relapse in the patient. The procedure is the same as for peripheral stem cell donation but without five days of G-CSF beforehand.
Lymphocytes are formed in the bone marrow and are a subgroup of white blood cells. They are responsible for fighting pathogens and killing off cancer cells, and include T cells and the natural killer cells (NK cells). If given by infusion to a patient after a stem cell transplant, lymphocytes can recognize leukemia cells and destroy them. In addition, virus-specific T cells can prevent some of the life-threatening infections that can occur after a patient has received a stem cell transplant.
If we ask you for a lymphocyte donation, we will be requesting your commitment a second time. You will be giving a great gift to a person suffering from blood cancer who desperately needs your help one more time – and we would like to thank you now for your selfless support. As ever, when it comes to donating lymphocytes, the health of our donors is our top priority.
Lymphocytes are usually donated at the same collection clinic as stem cells. And as with your stem cell donation, our trained workup team will work in close consultation with you and is responsible for all the organization. If you have any questions about donating lymphocytes, we’ll be happy to answer them at any time!