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FAQ



What is the bone marrow?

The bone marrow is the soft, spongy part in the center of bones where blood cells are produced. It contains stem cells, which develop into the mature cells in our blood: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

Which patients should receive a bone marrow transplant?

Bone marrow transplantation is a treatment option for some people who have life-threatening blood or immune system diseases. It can also be an option for the treatment of various other hereditary hematological disorders.

What is bone marrow transplantation?

Bone marrow transplantation is the procedure where the damaged or destroyed bone marrow of a patient is replaced with healthy bone marrow stem cells from a bone marrow donor. After a successful transplantation the new stem cells take over blood cell production.

What is histocompatibility?

Ηistocompatibility of two individuals, or else the tissue similarity, is determined by the histocompatibility antigens, the Human Leukocyte Antigens(HLA). These antigens are inherited and are the molecular identity of our immune system. Due to the fact that they are highly variable, finding two individuals with the same tissue type is particularly difficult.

What are the chances of finding a matching donor?

The search for a suitable donor for a patient begins among the patient’s siblings, who have 25% chance of compatibility, while within the extended family the chances are reduced. There are however many patients that cannot find a donor among their close family members, therefore a further search should be undertaken among unrelated volunteer donors who are able and willing to donate bone marrow to any patient in need.

Who can become a bone marrow donor?

A volunteer donor can be anyone between the ages of 18-45, in good health with no history of infectious diseases, tumors or heart disease. Registering as a volunteer donor is purely voluntary and altruistic and the donor has the right to change his or her mind at any time. Volunteer donors cannot be bribed nor burdened financially in any way.

Can I become a donor for a particular patient?

The Foundation's policy is to not accept the registration of donors for a particular patient unless they are a parent or a sibling of that patient. This ensures the highest probability of finding a matching donor for each patient. It is also important that a volunteer bone marrow donor is willing to help any patient regardless of the race, ethnicity or religion of the patient.

What if I am a compatible donor with a particular patient?

In the event that a volunteer donor is found to be compatible with a patient, the donor will be called for further awareness and laboratory testing. In addition, they will go through a full medical examination before the collection process, to ensure the good condition of their health. After this procedure, the donor will be asked to decide whether to proceed with the collection process of the graft.

How is the bone marrow collected?

There are two ways that a bone marrow can be collected. The traditional way is when the bone marrow is collected under general anesthetic using a needle and syringe and the marrow is extracted from the pelvic bone cavity. The second method involves the administration of a medication for four days prior to the collection, and then the stem cells are collected by a procedure called leukapheresis.

The traditional way of Bone Marrow collection

Bone marrow donation is a surgical outpatient procedure that takes place at a hospital. The donor will receive anesthesia and feel no pain during the donation. Doctors use a needle to withdraw liquid marrow from the back of the donor’s pelvic bone. Through this procedure, about one litre of bone marrow and blood is removed, which represents 5% of the donor’s total quantity of bone marrow, and is naturally replaced within a few weeks.

Peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection

This is a nonsurgical procedure that can take place at a blood center. For 4 days leading up to the donation, the donor will be given injections of a drug called filgrastim in order to increase the number of blood-forming cells in their bloodstream. Then the donor’s blood is removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells (leukapheresis procedure). The remaining blood is returned to the donor through the other arm. Blood-forming cells are back to their normal levels within a few weeks.

What are the risks of giving a graft?

The expected risk of giving a graft is minimal. To avoid any serious complications each donor goes through a thorough medical examination before proceeding to transplant donation.



In the case of the traditional way of collecting a graft, the only symptom that is experienced by the donor is usually mild pain at the point of the puncture for a few days. In the case of collecting stem cells through the procedure of leukapheresis, the donor may have bone pain and some flu-like symptoms, which usually respond to medication given by the doctor. A day after the collection of the graft the donors can return back to their routine. In contrast to the minimal side effects of graft donation the donor is rewarded with the knowledge that they have given a patient a second chance to life.

How often will I be asked to give a graft?

It is rare to be asked to give a graft more than once. In some cases however, such as the relapse of the patient’s disease, a donor may be asked to give a graft for a second time. It is the donor’s decision to proceed to a second graft donation for the same patient. Karaiskakio Foundation prevents graft donation from a volunteer donor for more than one patient.

What if I change my mind?

Nobody can force you to become a donor, but it is very important to think seriously and be informed before you join the bone marrow registry. Your withdrawal can cause great psychological distress to the patients and their families.

Can I contact the patient who receives my stem cells?

Throughout the process of donation and subsequently there will be full anonymity of both the donor and the patient. Cypriot law strictly prohibits the direct or indirect disclosure of the identity of the donor to the patient or of the patient to the donor. The Foundation only allows the exchange of a greeting card or a brief letter from the donor to the patient and vice versa, which has previously been checked by the Registry, to prevent the disclosure of any personal data.

Who can I contact for joining the bone marrow donor registry?

You can contact Karaiskakio Foundation or the Hospital Blood Bank in the area of your residence.

What is the bone marrow?

The bone marrow is the soft, spongy part in the center of bones where blood cells are produced. It contains stem cells, which develop into the mature cells in our blood: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

Which patients should receive a bone marrow transplant?

Bone marrow transplantation is a treatment option for some people who have life-threatening blood or immune system diseases. It can also be an option for the treatment of various other hereditary hematological disorders.

What is bone marrow transplantation?

Bone marrow transplantation is the procedure where the damaged or destroyed bone marrow of a patient is replaced with healthy bone marrow stem cells from a bone marrow donor. After a successful transplantation the new stem cells take over blood cell production.


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