BMT (Blood & Bone Marrow Transplant) Diagnosis and Treatment

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Once a there has been a diagnosis made for a blood disease or disorder for which a blood or bone marrow transplant is recommended for the patient, the team at Moffitt works closely together with the referring physician to begin securing a suitable donor and putting the process in motion, preparing the patient, caregiver and donor for what they can expect. Therapy for the underlying disease will continue until a suitable donor is found, a process that can take a few months.

The autologous transplant procedure begins with securing stem cells from your own blood and storing them frozen until needed, or finding a suitable healthy match from a donor in the case of an allogeneic transplantation. This requires stem cells with an HLA (human leukocyte antigen) match which may be from a sibling ,or a completely unrelated donor or a stored cord blood unit. You then begin chemotherapy treatment with or without radiation to prepare the immune system to accept the new stem cells from either the bone marrow, peripheral or cord blood followed by an infusion of healthy stem cells from the donor to replenish any normal cells damaged during treatment.

After the transplant, the stem cells can grow in your bone marrow and generate more complementary marrow and blood cells. Throughout the process, however, you are at risk for potential infection, bleeding, anemia or possible toxic effects on other organs. As a result, you will need transfusions of red cells and platelets until your marrow can produce these on its own and will be kept under close observation by the transplant team for several weeks or possibly event months to detect any transplant-related complications as early as possible.

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