Depending on their disease, some patients can have their stem cells removed and infused back into their body after they have undergone the appropriate procedure to either kill cancer cells, diminish the immune system to improve response to transplant, or destroy harmful bone marrow before the transplant takes place. This is an autologous transplant.
Note: Only offered at Baylor University Medical Center, part of Baylor Scott & White Health.
Other patients may not be able to use their own stem cells, so they must depend on matching with a donor who provides the stem cells for their transplant. This is an allogeneic transplant.
Generally, patients begin the allogeneic transplant process by looking for a relative to be their donor.
Siblings are often the best candidates; identical twins are an exact match.
Matched unrelated-donor transplant
Patients who are unable to find a match with a relative can search donor registries for an unrelated donor who is a match.
Haploidentical and cord blood transplants
Haploidentical (half-matched) and cord blood transplants have expanded the pool of potential donors and made it possible for many more individuals to receive a blood and marrow transplant.
In the case of a cord blood transplant, the stem cells were collected and frozen at the time of the baby’s birth.
Some patients may have their bone marrow and immune systems weakened, but not destroyed, before infusing stem cells from a donor.
This is a reduced-intensity transplant.