Chimera

The eventual goal of my treatment to is to beat the Leukemia into remission in order to prepare my body for a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. I’m extremely fortunate to have a full 10-point chromosomal match (~sub 10% chance) in my little brother Dylan (He’s already been born but I still consider him a savior sibling) who is graciously offering up his pluripotent stem cells in order to save my life. After undergoing full body irradiation to eliminate all of the bone marrow in my body, Dylan’s donated stem cells will find their way into my bones and regrow my bone marrow with his un-tainted DNA.

From that point on I will be a chimera which I find impossibly cool – an organism that contains two distinct sets of DNA originated from distinct zygotes. If you took my skin cells and checked the DNA you’d come back with Austin Castaldi – but if you were to take a sample of bone marrow (or I believe certain cells the bone marrow will be producing) and DNA typed those as well, you’d come back with Dylan Castaldi. Dylan will be producing my red blood cells, platelets, plasma, leukocytes, all the goodies my body is unable to produce on it’s own now due to the Leukemia.

Thanks D!

– Austin

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