Stem Cell Transplant

The procedures of Stem cell transplant are performed to restore blood-forming stem cells in patients who have undergone radiation therapy or chemotherapy with very high doses of drugs that are used to treat various cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and neuroblastoma, etc. These blood-forming Stem cells for transplant are usually taken from bone marrow or other sources and important for the production of different types of blood cells, including:


  • White Blood Cells (WBCs)

    Act as an important part of immune-system and help in fighting infection.

  • Red Blood Cells (RBCs)

    Carry oxygen all over the body.

  • Platelets

    Help in the blood clotting.

As stated above, stem cell or a bone marrow transplant is generally performed to replenish the destroyed healthy cells and bone marrow due to chemotherapy and radiation procedures in the cancer treatment. Once, the Stem cell transplant is finished, bone marrow may start to produce new blood cells. In a few instances, the transplant may produce an added benefit due to the new blood cells which also attack and remove any leftover cancer cells that survived during the initial treatment.

The blood makings stem cells are usually sourced from the patient’s or the recipient’s bone marrow, bloodstream, or umbilical cord, known as Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT).

According to the type of donor, Stem Cell Transplants can be further divided into following three types:

  • Autologous Transplants

    Patients receive stem cells from their body.

  • Syngeneic Transplants

    Stem cells are taken from the patient’s identical twin.

  • Allogeneic Transplants

    Patients receive stem cells from their siblings, relatives, or even from an unrelated donor (not related to the patient).

In a stem cell transplant, healthy blood-forming stem cells are injected through a needle into the patient’s vein that travel to the bone marrow via the bloodstream, and there they replenish the cells, destroyed by cancer treatment. Also, the donor’s blood-forming stem cells must match to the patient’s cells in certain ways to minimise possible side effects, as well as, to ensure the success of an allogeneic transplant for its better functioning. In many cases, the success of allogeneic transplantation is related to how well the human leukocyte-associated (HLA) antigens of the donor’s stem cells match the recipient’s stem cells.

Although in many cases, stem cell transplant may be lifesaving for cancer patients, still it may not work for everyone. Your specialist doctor will follow the progress of the new blood cells by checking your blood counts often

Side Effects
The most common side effects associated with Stem Cell Transplant are;

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Infertility
  • Organ damage
  • Risk of new cancers

Are you feeling nervous or anxious?
There are a huge number of people who have successfully undergone stem cell transplants or bone marrow transplants for their cancer treatment. Moreover, these techniques are constantly being refined and improved and providing more effective results than ever before.

So, be confident, and actively participate in your treatment. Ask your doctors for any doubts or questions in mind, especially while you are involved in a clinical trial. Get the best support from your family, and make sure they thoroughly understand this transplant procedure. A better understanding of your treatment options will give you more confidence to make your decision.