In a stem cell transplant, also called a bone marrow transplant, people are given new blood-forming stem cells. These stem cells are made in the bone marrow and develop into all the different kind of blood cells in the body. In a transplant, the stem cells are added into the bloodstream to replace the person’s unhealthy blood stem cells.
This procedure can be an effective form of treatment for certain kinds of cancer, especially blood cancers. These cancers include leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. A stem cell transplant may also be used to treat certain genetic diseases and some types of blood diseases that are not cancer.
Who Can Have a Stem Cell Transplant?
Transplantation can be hard for patients and their caregivers. This is because the treatment used to get people ready for a transplant has many side effects. These side effects include things like nausea, diarrhea, mouth sores, and fatigue.
In addition, for a long time after a transplant the immune systems is suppressed. This means that it stops working as well as it normally does. During that period, people are at risk for many types of infections.
We can now give transplants to people who may not have been able to have them in the past. This includes older patients and those who have other medical conditions. But because the treatment is still difficult, some people will not be able to have a stem cell transplant.
Why Choose MSK for a Stem Cell Transplant?
In 1973, Memorial Sloan Kettering doctors did the world’s first successful transplant between a patient and an unrelated donor. Since then we have been leaders in research in stem cell transplantation. We created many of the methods widely used today.
Our researchers who specialize in stem cell transplantation are always trying to reduce the possibility of complications for people who have transplants. This can improve their outcomes. We are also working to make transplants available to more people who could be helped by them.
MSK doctors have done thousands of transplants since the 1970s. We do transplants in more than 450 people each year. Because of our expertise, our patients often have excellent results. In fact, our one-year survival rate for allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is the best in the tristate region, according to the results of an independent study done by the US National Marrow Donor Program.
We understand that you may be overwhelmed at the idea of having a stem cell transplant. You may also be worried about the complications of the underlying disease. For those reasons, we offer a broad range of resources — before, during, and after transplantation. We want to help you and your caregivers meet the challenges you may face.
Our transplant doctors, highly skilled nurses, and nurse practitioners work with a team of other experts. This group includes immunologists, gastroenterologists, kidney specialists, radiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. We provide each person who needs a transplant with the best care possible.
People who have transplants at MSK are cared for by specialists who are experts in this procedure and its possible complications. As our patient, you will have access to the leading-edge methods created by our doctors and the investigators in our labs. You will also have access to a variety of supportive care services. These services can improve your quality of life both during and after treatment.