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Stem Cell Transplant

Stem cells are immature, unspecialized cells within the blood and bone marrow that have the ability to transform into differentiated cell types. Stem cell transplants, which include bone marrow transplants, cord blood transplants and peripheral blood transplants, are often used to replace diseased or damaged bone marrow or stem cells as part of cancer treatment for conditions including leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma. Transplanted stem cells jumpstart the body’s immune system and thereby prevent future illness.

Reasons someone may require a bone marrow or stem cell transplantation include:

  • Chemotherapy. Though chemotherapy has proven effective at destroying cancerous cells in the body, it often damages healthy blood or bone marrow cells, which can be fixed through stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

  • Failure or disease. Various diseases can infect blood cells or bone marrow. Additionally, bone marrow or stem cells may fail to produce healthy bone or blood.

  • Immunotherapy. Stem cell transplant is the oldest and most established form of immunotherapy. The new immune system acquired from a donor may exert a very potent immunological effect to kill the cancer cells and prevent return of the cancer cells.

Depending on the recipient’s age, diagnosis, disease stage and overall health, the transplant materials either come from the patient or a full- or half-matched donor identified through world donor registries or family members. Transplantation occurs with these steps:

  • Bone marrow — Using a thin needle, healthy marrow is harvested from the rear of the donor’s hipbone and is inserted into the patient’s body.

  • Stem cell — An apheresis machine collects blood from the donor’s body intravenously, separates the blood into parts, removes stem cells and returns the other blood parts to the donor. The stem cells are then injected into the patient.

One of the Most Experienced Stem Cell Programs in the Region

The Fox Chase-Temple University Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant Program offers patients in the Philadelphia region access to some of the most experienced stem cell transplant specialists. Patients in the program benefit from:

  • An experienced medical team that is specially trained in blood and bone marrow transplantation.

  • Physicians who specialize in managing all transplant types, including allogeneic (bone marrow from a donor), autologous (bone marrow from the patient) and haploidentical transplants (bone marrow from a half-matched donor).

  • A track record of success, with more than 2,000 adult bone marrow and stem cell transplants performed since the program began.

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Bone Marrow Transplant Program

Our program performs more than 100 transplants each year and is one of only three programs in the country to perform bloodless transplants. Our goal is to improve the long-term outcome for each of our patients with blood cancers.

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