Cancers of the blood and bone marrow are treated with chemotherapy. Often treatment with chemotherapy alone is not successful for curing disease. Some patients are also offered a transplant with blood-forming stem cells from another person.
The traditional way of performing a donor transplant is to give high doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy before giving stem cells. However, high doses of chemotherapy and radiation can have serious side effects. Doctors think a transplant would be safer and more likely to be successful using reduced doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy given at reduced doses followed by a cord blood transplant for treating patients with acute leukemia or myelodysplasia. The stem cells chosen for this transplant are from umbilical cord blood.