The Blue Shark Lymphocyte

Some good (but a little complicated to explain) news on Maggie’s bloodwork yesterday. I’m learning a lot of this as we go, so I’ll share some of that.

Maggie’s white blood cell count went up without drug assistance from 3.2 to 4.3, which is a great number. The threshold for treatment (for Maggie) is 3. So, to start above 3, and then climb way out of the treatment range is a great sign.

Even better is the percentage of white blood cells that are Lymphocytes. Lymphocytes represent the cornerstone of the adaptive immune system and are the cells that would battle off a viral infection. Potential viral infections are one of the main reasons we have Maggie quarantined from other people.

The percentage of Maggie’s white cells that were Lymphocytes was 33%. The typical cord blood transplant child that is 62 days post-transplant would be about 3%, so she is WAY ahead of the curve here. Great news. She’s also doing this while on a drug called Gancyclovir that has known marrow suppressive side effects. (She’s on Gancyclovir as an anti-viral because she has an active viral infection called CMV).

For the future: One type of lymphocyte is the CD4 T cell. These are the same types of cells that you’ll hear people talk about for patients with AIDS. One of the next major hurdles that we’ll try to cross in the transplant process is a CD4 count above 200. We haven’t even measured her CD4 count yet. That first test will happen somewhere around day 100 post-transplant. When the CD4 count hits 400, that’s when Maggie can safely weather a viral infection.

Shown here is Maggie interacting with a 3d model of a blue shark lymphocyte.

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