The stem cell transplant took place on Friday at the Geneva hospital. The transplant itself is a fairly simple procedure, as the stem cells from the donor are infused intravenously to the patient. The infusion lasted a little less than two hours and Joon was able to stand for a few moments just after and have visits during the day. She will remain very vulnerable in the coming weeks because her immune system will be close to zero. The visits at the hospital are therefore strickly controlled to avoid any infection from the outside.
During this period, the transplanted cells will circulate in the bones to gradually rebuild the production of the bone marrow and resume the production of various blood cells. This only occurs 10 to 30 days after transplantation, period during which Joon should continue to be protected against infections. After 3 months, her immune system can be reconstituted.
During the coming weeks , the medical team will closely monitor the side effects of the transplant, especially the symptoms of the “graft versus host” disease. They generally try to avoid these possible effects, but in Joon’s case, a moderate reaction will be sought because the graft, once developed, can then attack her remaining cancer cells.
In short, this means that there is still a long way to go. This said, the transplant on Friday was a crucial milestone and we are grateful for all the encouragement and support that led to this day.