Be a Granulocyte Donor

October 26, 2012 at 10:23am

 


WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF GRANULOCYTES?

Granulocytes are the white cells that attack and break down bacteria and viruses when a patient suffers from an infection. Some patients can become dangerously short of neutrophils (a type of granulocyte) either as a result of their illness or because of the treatment they are receiving. When this happens, even the slightest infection can rapidly overwhelm the body's natural defenses and in some extreme cases can cause death.

 

The types of patients in whom this can occur are:

  • Patients suffering from leukemia, who have very few neutrophils because of the disease itself or as a side effect of chemotherapy treatment.
  • Patients having treatment similar to those with leukemia.
  • Very sick newborn babies.
  • Certain other patients with disorders that adversly affect neutrophils.

 

WHEN ARE GRANULOCYTE TRANSFUSIONS NEEDED?

The need for granulocytes is usually urgent and occurs during a patient crisis. This means it is necessary to schedule donors on short notice. Once granulocytes have been donated they must be given to a patient within 24 hours.

 

HOW ARE GRANULOCYTE COLLECTIONS PERFORMED?

Granulocytes are collected by leukapheresis, a procedure that separates granulocytes from whole blood, returning the remainder of the blood to the donor. The donation usually takes about three hours. Donors are contacted and asked to come in the day before the scheduled procdure for a subcutaneous injection of G-CSF/Neupogen (granulocyte colony stimulating factor), medication given to stimulate the bone marrow to release granulocytes into the blood stream.

 

INTERESTED IN JOINING OUR PROGRAM AND BECOMING A GRANULOCYTE DONOR?

I fyou are interested in becoming a granulocyte donor, please call our Patient and Cellular Therapy department at (401)453-8550.