Our team works closely with the patient’s cancer physician to decide whether a stem cell transplant is appropriate along with the optimal timing for such therapy, which should be as early in the disease process as possible.
Prior to transplant, blood stem cells, which normally live in the bone marrow, can be harvested either by directly taking them from the bone marrow or by inducing them to enter the blood and filtering them from the blood using a technique called apheresis. Cells can be collected from the patients themselves in the case of an autologous transplant or from a matched donor in the case of an allogeneic transplant.
Conditioning therapy is given to either kill the blood cancer cells with higher dose therapy requiring the previously stored cells from the same patient (autologous transplant).
Or therapy to suppress the patient’s immune system is given so new cells from a donor can be safely infused to provide a new immune system capable of attacking the blood cancer (allogeneic transplant).
The immediate recovery post transplant is done in or close to the hospital during the highest risk period to approximately day 30. After this time a patient is often back with their local oncologist recovering at home.