Because I am no medical expert, here is my ABC version of how a stem cell transplant works at Singapore General Hospital. The rationale is to reboot the immune system, with the hope that the new immune system will not attack the way it has with MS. There are two parts to the process:
- Harvest (Inpatient, 2-3 weeks)
During this time, there is one day of chemo to injure the bone marrow. My sister is then given injections to release the stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood stream. After this, there is a stem cell collection (3 million) taken from the blood. The stem cells are then conditioned, and the good stem cells are separated from the bad ones.
In between: Rest (Outpatient, 2-4 weeks)
- Transplant (Inpatient, 3-4 weeks)
This part of the process all happens in isolation. It starts with four days of chemo to wipe out the immune system, then one day of rest before the new stem cells are injected. The time after the transplant is apparently the hardest physically and emotionally (Superman dad is coming to the rescue around then for extra support, yay Papa!).
After: Rehab, neutropenic diet (diet for low-immune system) for 6 months
The particular stem cell transplant Becks is having at Singapore General Hospital is nonmyleoablative, so of lower risk than other stem cell transplants available. The biggest risk during the process is contracting any infection, particularly while the blood count is low after chemo, but obviously we'll be doing everything we can to avoid that. A healthy sister with a healthy new immune system is the expected outcome yes yes.