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Robotic Voice: Override initiated. Access Granted.


Jett: Jackpot.

Five minutes on the internet was all it took..…to uncover their real plan!

Hello Jett! Join us! Be one of us. One of us! One of us!


Carly: Wait, wait, wait! Jett, why would the doctors want to clone you?


Jett: Because I'm awesome! Duh, Carly!

Why else would I need a "stem cell transplant"? The doctors "Say" it has something to do with fixing what's wrong with my blood, but I'm not falling for it!


Carly: Look, little brother, I don't know what a stem cell transplant is either, but I don't think it has anything to do with cloning you. The doctors just want to help! Bottom line, chill out! It'll be fine! I'm going to find a vending machine.


Jett: Easy for you to say! No one is trying to make an army out of--

You! Pump? Skindy? What am I doing here? Oooh, did you hear the doctors want to clone me? Are you here to help stop it? Is this a superhero mission to stop evil?


Skindy: More like a mission to educate and stop misinformation.

 

Pump: A stem cell transplant is when you get healthy new stem cells to replace unhealthy bone marrow and blood cells.

 

Jett: Oh jeez, and I wonder why they'd want to take my stem cells - other than to make an elite army of awesomeness!


Pump: Okay, I think this is going to require a field trip!


Skindy: Time to get the real info on stem cells and stem cell transplants!


Jett: Okay, but I'm warning you - I only trust my own eyes!


Pump: Well if seeing is believing, then MediLand is exactly where you need to go.


Skindy: Yeah, let's go see some stem cells in action!


Narrator: Inside the bone marrow...


Skindy: Welcome to the bone marrow! It's the soft, spongy material that is found inside your bones. This is where your blood cells are made.


Jett: Whoa, who are they?


Pump: Those are your blood cells. These cells work hard to help keep you healthy.

Eventually, cells become worn out or damaged and have to be replaced by new ones.

 

Skindy: This is where stem cells come in!


Pump: Stem cells are awesome because they can become any type of cell.

So when blood cells need to be replaced, stem cells will make new ones. These are called hematopoietic stem cells and they live here, in your bone marrow.

 

Jett: Cool, you're like a shapeshifter! What's your favorite blood cell to turn into?


Stem Cell: Well, there are three types, and they're all pretty cool and pretty important!

I can become a red blood cell.


Red Blood Cell: I carry oxygen all around your body.


Stem Cell: I can become a white blood cell!


White Blood Cell: I'm part of your immune system, which is your body's defensive army against invaders like germs.


Stem Cell: Last, but certainly not least, I can become a platelet!


Platelet: I help your blood to clot if you're bleeding!

 

Skindy: Your blood cells stay in the bone marrow until they're fully grown. Then they head off into the bloodstream.

 

Stem Cell: (sigh) They grow up so fast.

 

Jett: Stem cells are awesome! Why would I ever need to replace them?

What's wrong?


Stem Cell: I--I don't feel so good.

 

Pump: Uh oh. Sometimes, there is a problem with how the bone marrow or the blood cells work.

 

Jett: Well, this looks bad! And that looks worse! Ahhh! Whew! A. Thanks for the save. B. What is going on?


Pump: Different diseases, like leukemia (blood cancer) or other types of cancer, can affect the bone marrow and blood cells. Also, some children with aplastic anemia or sickle cell disease might need a stem cell transplant.


Jett: Oh man, these guys don't look good.

 

Skindy: They're sick, and that means you get sick! This is when you need to get healthy new stem cells to replace the unhealthy bone marrow and blood cells. This is called a stem cell - or bone marrow - transplant.

 

Jett: So that's why I've been sick! Okay, I now get why I need a transplant. But how does it even work?


Pump: The first way is called an autologous transplant. This is done by collecting stem cells from your blood.


Narrator: Stem cells live in the bone marrow, but also circulate in the blood.


Pump: …Or sometimes by taking a sample of bone marrow from your hip.

This means you'll need a small operation.


Jett: Oh, well -- that's easy! Just take some of my good stems cells to replace the bad ones!


Pump: Er…sometimes things aren't that easy!


Skindy: Yeah, there are times when you can't use your own stem cells. Then you will need stem cells from someone else, called a "Donor". This is an allogeneic transplant.

Narrator: A donor is a person who donates some of their own healthy stem cells.


Skindy: Finding a donor can be quite difficult, and can take a long time. That's because not all stem cells are the same.


Skindy: Stem cells have a marker on them called HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) that your immune system uses to decide if they are friend or foe!


White Blood Cell: I don't recognize you. Show me your HLA!


Stem Cell: Right here, Sir!


White Blood Cell: Okay, looks good. Move along!


Jett: And what if the markers don't match?

 

White Blood Cell: You messed with the wrong body, buddy!


Stem Cell: Please, I'm just here to help!


Skindy: Things are getting a bit tense in here. Time to head back to HQ!


Pump: Basically, the closer your donor's HLA type is to your own, there's a better chance the transplant will work.

 

Skindy: Doctors will use a blood test to make sure you're a good match with your donor by comparing your HLA markers to the donor's.

 

Jett: So if they find a good match, how do they get the stem cells from the donor?


Pump: The stem cells can be taken from a donor in three different ways. 1. By taking the blood from the arm. 2. By taking bone marrow cells from the hip.


Skindy: Or 3. By taking stem cells from a newborn baby's umbilical cord!

Stem cells from a baby are so new that they haven't grown many HLA markers yet. This means that these stem cells are less likely to react with your HLA markers.


Pump: All the different ways of getting new stem cells can work well. Your doctors will decide which one is best for you.


Skindy: When you are ready for your transplant, you will go into the hospital. Here you will meet your transplant team!

 

Pump: But for MediLand, we are the transplant team, so let's get to work!


Narrator: A quick teleport later and we're back in the bone marrow.


Skindy: Before you get your new stem cells, you will receive strong medicines that help make room for the new cells in your body.


Pump: If you are having an allogeneic transplant (from a donor), you will get medicines to weaken your own immune system so that it doesn't attack the donor cells.


White Blood Cell: Suddenly…soo…sleepy.


Skindy: If you are having a transplant because you have cancer, you will receive strong chemotherapy medicines to kill as many cancer cells as possible before you get your new stem cells.


Pump: When you have your transplant, you might be surprised at how quickly it's all over! The new cells are given to you through an IV infusion, a bit like having a blood transfusion. It only takes about 30 minutes.


Stem Cells: I got the signal. Come on, boys, let's go!


Skindy: The stem cells go into your bloodstream, and then travel to your bone marrow.


Jett: Alright!


Pump: Here they start making new blood cells. It can take a few weeks for them to settle in, and you'll have to stay in the hospital during this time.

 

Jett: So cool!

 

Skindy: Remember, if you have an allogeneic stem cell transplant, there is a risk of graft versus host (GVH) disease. It can be serious, but there are medicines to treat it.


White Blood Cell: There's something about you I don't like. Carry on, but know that I'm watching you.


Stem Cell: Well, that's not creepy at all!


Skindy: When you are ready to go home, there will be a new set of rules for you to follow.

 

Jett: New rules? Like what?

 

Skindy: Well, your transplant will leave your immune system super weak for a while, which means that it can't fight off germs.

Even a germ like the common cold could make you very ill.


Pump: Many germs come from other people, so until your immune system is strong again, you will be limited in where you can go and who you can see.

This means you won't be able to go to school or visit other public places, like the pool or mall.

You can still see your friends sometimes, but maybe not as much as before.


Jett: Not being able to see my friends is a minus, but getting to miss school for a bit is a big plus!


Skindy: Good work, boys, things here are looking good. Let's head back to HQ!

 

Jett: So, how long until I'm back up to 100% awesomeness?


Pump: It can take between three months and one year to recover from a stem cell transplant.

 

Skindy: During this time, you will go to the hospital for check ups to make sure that the new stem cells are working properly.

 

Jett: Wow, I was super off about this whole stem cell transplant, but even though I get it now, it's still kind of scary.

 

Pump: Totally! Having a stem cell transplant is difficult, and it's normal to feel worried, scared, angry, and sad.

 

Skindy: Yeah, and if you feel that way, talk to someone you trust, like your family and friends or transplant team. They're all there to help you.

 

Pump: And the big thing you should remember is that you are not alone -- around 20,000 stem cell transplants are performed in the USA every year. So, there are lots of children going through exactly the same thing!

 

Jett: Thanks, Medikidz. Now I feel that I'm ready to handle whatever comes next with this transplant.


Skindy: We know you are, which is why we're giving you this Medichron wrist computer. Everything you've learned is on it!


Pump: This way, you can teach others about stem cell transplants. Congrats, Jett, you just became an honorary Medikid!

 

Jett: So cool! Thanks, Medikidz!

 

Carly: I'm back!


Jett: Me too! Carly, you won't believe this, but I was just on an alien planet!

 

Carly: You're right, I totally don't believe it.


Doctor: Hey Jett, Carly, sorry to keep you waiting. Your parents and I were just discussing Jett's best course of treatment.


Carly: Stem cells? HLA? Immune system attacking?


Jett: Don't worry, sis, I'll explain everything!


Narrator: A few months after a successful stem cell transplant...


Carly: It's so great to see how you have come through your transplant, Jett!


Jett: For sure, Carly, but I couldn't have done it without your support!

Thank you sis!


Carly: Anytime, little brother, any time!

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