Stem cell transplantation is often used in patients with hematologic cancers who have had chemotherapy to help rebuild their blood-forming and immune systems. But not every patient has a stem cell donor who is a close enough genetic match.
In these cases, doctors may use umbilical cord blood, which is a rich source of stem cells. Cord blood collections from two newborns (a “double-unit” transplant) can be used to increase the number of cord blood cells patients receive, further enhancing their recovery. But even in this case, recovery can take a long time.
The purpose of this study is to see if recovery during the first few weeks after transplantation can be enhanced by using double-unit cord blood transplantation followed by an infusion of blood stem cells from a close relative in patients with hematological cancers that are advanced or at high risk of relapse. To prevent a potential complication of transplantation known as graft-versus-host disease (where the white blood cells from the donor attack the recipient’s tissues), T cells will be removed from the relative’s stem cells before giving them to the patient. This is known as “T-cell depletion.”