Blood & Bone Marrow Transplant - Diagnosis & Treatment of Eligible Conditions
Blood and bone marrow transplant procedures are often used as a treatment for a wide range of blood diseases and disorders, such as leukemia or lymphoma. At Moffitt Cancer Center, these transplants may also be performed to restore stem cells that have been damaged by cancer treatment, specifically high-dose chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
The transplant process begins when we receive a referral from a patient’s primary physician or specialist, or when one of our own oncologists recommend the treatment for an existing patient. Our physician team will then evaluate information about the patient’s specific diagnosis and overall health to determine if a transplant is the best possible option at this time.
If a transplant is found to be a suitable treatment, our transplant team will work closely with the patient’s referring physician to prepare for the procedure. The first step is to determine if we must find a donor whose stem cells match the patient’s. A person is a "match" if the proteins on the donor's white blood cells, called HLA (human leukocyte antigens) are compatible with the patient's. If a patient is getting an autologous transplant, then the patient will donate cells from themselves. If a patient is getting an allogeneic transplant, we will try to obtain these cells from:
- A sibling, parent, or other close relative
- An unrelated donor
- A stored cord blood unit
Finding an appropriate match for an allogeneic blood and bone marrow transplant can take several months. While we search for a donor, the patient will continue with other forms of treatment for his or her underlying disease. If you are to receive an autologous transplant, we do not need to find a donor because we will collect blood stem cells from you (the patient). These cells will be frozen and given back to you after you receive chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Throughout this time, Moffitt’s team will also help prepare the donor, the patient, and the patient’s caregiver for the transplant process. For instance, we may provide the patient with chemotherapy (with or without radiation therapy) to prepare the patient’s immune system to accept the new stem cells. After chemotherapy, we will then provide an infusion of new, healthy stem cells, which will replace the normal cells damaged during treatment. Once the transplant is complete, the donor’s stem cells can help your body produce more healthy bone marrow and blood cells.
After your transplant, your treatment team will carefully monitor your red blood cell and platelet counts, as your body may not be immediately able to produce them on their own. As a result, you may have a higher risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and other complications; consistent monitoring can help your treatment team identify any potential problems and make a prompt diagnosis, should they occur.
For more information about our blood and bone marrow transplant services, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form.