How it works
The day after the patient´s arrival, he will be received by the Hematologist/Oncologist Doctor specialized in stem cell transplants, who will again review the patient´s medical records and may order additional tests or screenings to be done on the same day.
The next morning or day thereafter, the patient will enter the medical clinic/hospital where he will be given local anesthesia. Depending on the type of ailment and on the agreement between doctor and patient, stem cells are extracted from the patient´s peripheral blood or from his bone marrow (from the thigh or the hip), and sent to a specialized laboratory where it is processed.
There the blood is centrifuged in cold to separate the different components; the stem cells are being separated from the other cells and purified. Once separated, the stem cells are suspended in plasma, and ready to be injected. Upon request, the stem cells can also be suspended in a saline solution.
In the meantime the patient can relax during the rest of the day, enjoy his meals, read or watch TV. He is given analgesics in case of pain but remains conscious all along. The procedure is like receiving a mini-blood transfusion: the stem cells are re-injected intravenously or intramuscularly; they can also be injected in or around the affected organ.
After the transplantation the patient remains another 12 or 24 hours in the hospital to be monitored, in case of allergic reactions or complications, which occur in only 2% to 3% of the cases. Since the stem cells come from the patient himself there is no risk of rejection.
Umbilical cord cells – which come from a private stem cell bank in Guatemala City – can be injected intra-venously into a patient, they don´t have to come from a family member. Two days before the injection, the patient has to undergo a series of clinical blood tests to analyze the compatibility between the donor cells and the receiver. The stem cell transplant with umbilical cord stem cells is totally ambulatory: the intra-venous injection lasts approximately 45 minutes.
To treat leukemia, lymphomas and bone cancer: stem cells are either extracted from the patient himself, or from a compatible donor, who is either part of the family or not. The chances of compatibility are increased when the donor is a member of the family.