R-ICE and S.C.Ts

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I originally put this question into the wrong  Community group! Thanks Highlander for pointing out my mistake. I'm about to go into hospital to start my R-ICE treatments at Frimley Park Hospital before  beginning my Stem Cell Transplant cycles at The Churchill Hospital in Oxford. Can anybody who has had experience of  the R-ICE  treatment and the whole transplant experience be willing to give me any advice as to how and what I might expect to experience.

 Many thanks


  • Hi again  and well done getting your post up in this group and sorry for not getting back to you sooner - just getting out the other side of covid (tested positive on Friday)

    R-ICE is being used to open that door to allow you to go into Stem Cell Transplant (SCT).

    I had a different salvage treatment mainly due to my type of NHL but you need to expect this to be slightly stronger than you have had before to achieve that window of remission.

    Do you know if you are having your own cells harvested  (Auto SCT) or cells from a donor (Allo SCT)?

    I had 2 Allo SCTs and you can see my story through the link at the bottom...... the journeys were very different.

    Alway around to chat and answer questions.

    This is my simple’ guide to a Stem Cell Transplant.

    For an Auto SCT (using your own Stem Cells) the patient will have to be in a window of remission so that their Stem Cells can be harvested this often requires what is often called salvage treatment.... basically some chemo that can often be strong but is designed to achieve the goal.

    The patient will most likely have a week of injections to make the bone marrow work overtime to produce lots of Stem Cells.

    To harvest the Stem Cells a line is put into their arm. Its sort of like giving blood - the blood runs into a very clever machine that brrrrs the blood round and picks out what are called undifferentiated cells (these Stem Cells have not been given a job by the bone-marrow so this is before they turn into Red or White blood cells etc) and the blood returns through the line back into the blood stream.

    The machine can pick out millions of stem cells over a 4-5 hours process. The harvest is on the whole painless and once harvested the Stem Cells are frozen.

    Those having an Allo (donor) SCT the harvest process is done by their donor with out the chemo as their Stem Cells are cancer free.

    Leading up to the actual SCT the patient will have to have treatments to get to a stage where the SCT can proceed.

    So 7ish days leading up to the SCT day he/she will have to go through what is called Conditioning, its a method of taking down the bodies Immune System completely.

    This is normally done again using some very strong chemotherapy and for some like myself, Radiotherapy..... but I had an Allo SCT.

    Once the Immune System is taken down they give the harvested Stem Cells just like getting a blood transfusion usually through a Central Line.

    The Stem Cells then go to the Job Centre in the Bonemarrow and ask for a job. This is the point where they become differentiated cells like Red and White blood cells and the all ’New You’ starts to grow as the body starts to reboot the Immune System and over time the blood counts come back up.

    It's all very clever, very science fiction but all very do-able.

    Each SCT Unit will do their own thing but for an Auto SCT some of the conditioning can be done as an out-patient then when the patient is get closer to get the cells this is done in a dedicated SCT unit.

    Its a very clean environment (Ward) in a hospital, the patient may even get their own on-suite room. The time in the unit will be different for everyone but expect at least a few weeks - but the medical team will keep the patient well informed.

    Remember the patient does not have an immune system to fight bugs during this time so safety first, but SCT teams are very good at keeping everything under control until new immune system kicks back in. The patient will be an in-patient for some of the time but this all depends on how fast the ’New You’ starts to grow. The average is about 4-6 weeks in the unit but can be quicker.

    Once the patient gets discharged they do need to be very carful during the weeks following the SCT as the new Immune System is still growing so care with coming in contact with infectious environments but their team will give lots of guidelines.

    Expect weekly appointments for bloods etc as they will want to keep a close eye on the patient.

    I would also say that the fatigue following a SCT is much higher than going through regular chemo but that could just be me, going off food and some mouth issues do come along but these SCT teams will help as they have seen it all before.

    I always say that you can’t do anything to control the actual medical treatments but you can make a difference to how you get through your journey, but we can help you get though this.

    Self (autologous) stem cell transplants

    Donor (allogeneic) stem cell transplants

    Having a stem cell transplant

    Top tips for stem cell transplants

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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