Patients with blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma may be recommended by their physician for a blood and marrow (stem cell) transplant. Our specialized hematologists will help you navigate the complex transplant process.
What happens during a blood and marrow transplant?
There are different types of blood and marrow transplants, also known as stem cell transplants, but all involve the infusion of hematopoietic stem cells, a type of cell found in bone marrow that has the ability to mature into healthy blood cells. Depending on your type of cancer, your physician may use your own stem cells or use stem cells collected from a donor, and then perform a stem cell infusion, which looks similar to a blood transfusion. As the stem cells are introduced into your bloodstream, they naturally migrate into the bone marrow. In the bone marrow, stem cells begin to replicate and become different types of healthy blood cells: red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout the body, platelets that help blood to clot, and white blood cells to help the body fight infection. After your stem cell transplant, you will remain under close observation for a few weeks and over time, your transplanted stem cells multiply and produce blood cells to create a healthy immune system.
What is the difference between an allogeneic and autologous transplant?
Depending on your type of cancer, your physician may use your own stem cells, carefully collected and stored until you are ready for transplantation, called an autologous transplant. Or, they may use stem cells collected from a donor, called an allogeneic transplant. The donor may be a relative or someone unrelated to you, but in all cases they will be carefully chosen to ensure a good match and lessen complications.
Who will be on the patient's care team?
After your transplant, you will remain under close observation for a few weeks while your care team monitors your blood cell counts and protects you against infection. As time passes, your transplanted stem cells multiply and produce blood cells to create a healthy immune system.
You will see your care team frequently to ensure your blood levels remain healthy and you are doing well.
Stem cell transplants require a dedicated, team of experienced healthcare professionals. Your team may consist of your transplant physician, consulting physicians, nurses, BMT coordinator, pharmacist, laboratory technicians, social workers, psychologists and other experienced caregivers who walk with you through every step of the transplant journey.