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Why is it so difficult to find a donor for a stem cell transplant?

It can be difficult to find a donor for a stem cell transplant because not all stem cells are the same. Stem cells have a marker on them called HLA (human leukocyte antigen) that people's immune system uses to decide if stem cells are friend or foe. If people get stem cells with a different HLA marker than theirs, their immune system will think the stem cells are enemy cells and attack them.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.