An allogeneic stem cell transplant is a procedure in which a patient receives healthy stem cells from a donor. Blood is drawn from the donor and then passed through a machine that separates the stem cells. The blood is then returned to the donor, and the patient receives the stem cells through a central venous catheter (central line).
Why is this procedure used?
An allogeneic bone marrow transplant may be used to treat types of lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndrome, as well as other bone marrow disorders. Conditions such as these affect the blood and/or bone marrow, so they can’t be treated by surgically removing a tumor, as may be the case with other cancers. Instead, systemic treatments (treatments that affect the whole body) like chemotherapy are typically the primary treatment. When high doses of chemo (and sometimes radiation therapy) are used to destroy the cancer cells, it also destroys the healthy stem cells in the bone marrow. This is why an allogeneic bone marrow transplant would be used – to replace the stem cells that were lost. The donated stem cells find their way to the patient’s bone marrow, where they grow and develop healthy blood cells.
What you can expect
At Moffitt Cancer Center, the multispecialty team within our Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy Program collaborates to ensure each patient receives an individualized treatment plan that’s tailored to his or her needs. If an allogeneic transplant is recommended as part of your treatment, the first step involves finding a donor. An allogeneic stem cell transplant requires that someone donate marrow or blood stem cells for you. The donor may be:
- A close relative, such as a sibling or parent
- An anonymous volunteer donor from the National Marrow Donor Program ("Be The Match")
While an appropriate match is being found, you will receive conditioning to prepare for the transplant. Chemotherapy or immunotherapy may be used to help prepare your body to receive the healthy stem cells.
Patients undergoing an allogeneic transplant will be admitted to our specialized blood and bone marrow transplant inpatient unit to receive their preparative chemotherapy and transplant. Patients may remain in the hospital for several days to weeks and will be closely monitored by our medical team until it is safe for the patient to be discharged to an outpatient setting. Upon discharge, patients who have received an allogeneic bone marrow transplant are required to remain close to Moffitt for follow-up care, which is provided in our outpatient clinic and treatment center. Moffitt’s transplant program has several options for local lodging; you can discuss this with your assigned social worker.