Diagnosis and Treatments
A patient receives a transplant of healthy bone marrow stem cells when his bone marrow either malfunctions or has been destroyed (ablated) by chemotherapy or radiation. Bone marrow or stem cell transplants may be recommended to treat certain cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
There are three kinds of bone marrow transplants:
- Autologous bone marrow transplant. Stem cells are taken from the patient before the chemotherapy or radiation treatment. After chemotherapy or radiation, patients get their own stem cells back. A "rescue" transplant makes possible high doses of chemotherapy and radiation.
- Allogeneic bone marrow transplant. Stem cells come from a donor. Generally, the donor must have the same genetic typing as the patient, so blood type is a perfect match.
- Umbilical cord blood transplant. Stem cells are taken from an umbilical cord right after delivery of an infant. The stem cells are tested, typed, counted, and frozen until they are needed for a transplant.