Joon went through another bone marrow examination today at the Geneva Hospital. They are conducted at regular intervals to assess the effectiveness of the treatment. These last results, to be available in 10 days or so, are extremely important as the chemotherapy cycles have now come to an end, and they shall determine the next steps for Joon’s recovery.
There has been some delay to conduct this last examination, and it did impact the schedule for the transplant, which is now planned for December. However, the prospect of finding a matching donor looks promising according to the hospital.
The medical team has been looking for a donor who matches Joon’s tissue type, specifically her human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type. A close HLA match is important for successful blood stem stell transplantation because:
- it promotes engraftment. Engraftment is when the donated cells start to grow and make new blood cells.
- it reduces the risk of a post-transplant complication called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). GVHD occurs when the immune cells from the donated marrow or cord blood (the graft) attack your body (the host).
There are possible leads in the international donor registries that need further confirmation. We shall know more in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, Joon is at home with her parents. She has been allowed to attend classes at her university, of course with many precautions . She does that once a week for selective courses only.
Thanks to all of you for helping us to find a matching donor for Joon. Please continue to spread the word on the importance of bone marrow/stem cell donation! Every new registration can make a difference for Joon and all other patients looking for a matching donor.