Primary immunodeficiency disease (PID) is the name for a group of very rare conditions that are mainly caused by genetic abnormalities. These conditions are normally picked up at birth or in early childhood.
There are lots of different types of conditions, with different symptoms, but they all share one similarity; they cause problems with the development of the immune system. Your immune system protects you from infection, so if you have a PID, you are much more prone to infection.
Primary immunodeficiency (PID) diseases tend to be divided into two broad categories:
Having a stem cell or bone marrow transplant is almost always the only curative approach for treating people with PID, particularly for young children.
The type of stem cell transplant you have may be slightly different, depending on the exact type of PID you have and how well you are. If you have a brother or sister, your doctors will normally test them first to see if they’re a match and whether you can have a transplant using their stem cells.
If not, then they may consider an allograft transplant – where your new stem cells are donated from an unrelated donor – or a haplo-identical transplant, using stem cells from one of your relatives whose HLA partially matches. Find out more about transplants here.
If you’re a parent who’s supporting a child with PID through a transplant, read our page for parents.
Alex had a bone marrow transplant to treat his chronic granulomatous disease in 2011. Find out how life is for him now.
[i] EBMT Handbook