22. Apheresis: Harvesting Stem Cells From Peripheral Blood
Nurses harvest blood stem cells from a donor's peripheral blood using a process called apheresis. This process involves removal of whole blood from the donor. As blood is drawn from the donor, circulating stem cells (and sometimes mature immune cells) are extracted. A centrifuge-type machine then separates the components. The blood itself, minus the stem cells, is returned to the donor. Apheresis requires no anesthesia but can take several hours.