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Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant


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Bone marrow and stem cell transplants are both approaches that add stem cells to your body. Stem cells are versatile cells that can develop into many different types of cells. The cells can be from your own body or from a related or unrelated donor, depending on your case.

A transplant can help when your body can’t produce enough healthy blood cells of its own. It’s also used to replace diseased bone marrow or blood cells, as well as replace healthy cells that were destroyed during chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

The difference between the two procedures is where the stem cell transplant comes from:
  • Bone marrow transplant: when stem cells are taken from your bone marrow (the spongy tissue inside bones)
  • Stem cell transplant: when stem cells are collected from your bloodstream

Who is a Candidate?

The Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program treats patients with cancers and blood diseases, including:

You will meet one of our transplant doctors and our multidisciplinary transplant team before you begin treatment. They will determine if a stem cell transplant is right for you.

The Transplant Process

Stem Cell Collection
Stem cells that produce blood are in your bone marrow. Your doctor will give you/your donor a medicine that releases stem cells from your bone marrow into your blood, where they can be removed. If we collect stem cells directly from you/your donor bone marrow, we draw them out through a needle that’s inserted into the back of the hip. You will have pain medicine (anesthesia) during the procedure so you don’t feel any pain.

The collected stem cells are set aside until after chemotherapy.

High-Dose Chemotherapy
You will receive high-dose chemotherapy to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in your body, which also destroys the damaged bone marrow. The treatment also reduces the number of white blood cells, which weakens your immune system, and blood platelets, which increases your risk of bleeding. Blood transfusions can help replace red blood cells. Eventually, the infused stem cells will produce blood cells, and your immune system will regain its power to fight infection and disease.

During chemotherapy treatments, you will stay in an infection-controlled unit in the hospital and receive comprehensive care to manage all aspects of your health. Typical hospital stays for stem or bone marrow transplants are about two to four weeks, but it varies for each person.

Clinical Trials

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is part of a university research medical center. Our patients gain access to many clinical trials of new therapies. Many of our doctors are principal investigators of this research, which includes new medical, surgical, and radiation therapies.

The Sylvester Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program offers opportunities to participate in clinical trials. These include clinical trials developed by the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network. This is a consortium of academic stem cell transplant programs.

Ask your doctor if you are a good candidate for a clinical trial.

Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?

Sylvester is an NCI-designated cancer center. The National Cancer Institute has recognized Sylvester for its outstanding work conducting research in its laboratories, treating patients in its clinics and hospitals, and reaching out to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies.

Advanced expertise in stem cell transplantation. You receive care from the most experienced team in the region. Our Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program was established in 1992 and is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). Our expertise draws patients from other hospitals throughout the area.

Access to the latest treatments through clinical trials. As part of an academic medical center, Sylvester offers access to some of the most promising new therapies. Many of our doctors are leading research to discover new approaches in chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. We also offer opportunities to participate in clinical trials developed by the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network, a consortium of academic stem cell transplant programs.

Leading-edge bone marrow sampling technology. Developed by one of our oncologists, the OnControl® device takes consistent, high-quality bone marrow samples for greater accuracy in diagnosis and treatment monitoring. The procedure offers less pain and takes less than five minutes.

Many patients in the Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program come from other area hospitals. Stem cell transplant is available to you and is fully integrated with your cancer treatment.

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