Stem Cells for Cancers
In a stem cell transplant for cancer, very high doses of chemo are used, often along with radiation therapy, to try to destroy all the cancer cells. This treatment kills the stem cells in the bone marrow and other healthy cells of the body as well. Therefore, stem cells stored before chemo or radiation would be salvaged and proposed to use in treating to restore immunity of the patient. Soon after chemo or radiation therapy, stored stem cells are given to replace those that were destroyed. This process is called stem cell transplants for cancers.
There are 3 basic types of transplants. They are named based on who gives the stem cells with respect to the host’s body:
- Autologous (The cells come from the same patient) - This kind of transplant is mainly used to treat certain leukemias, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma. It’s sometimes used for other cancers, like testicular cancer and neuroblastoma, and certain cancers in children.
- Allogeneic (The cells come from a matched related or unrelated donor) - Allogeneic transplant is most often used to treat certain types of leukemia, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome, and other bone marrow disorders such as aplastic anemia.
- Syngeneic (The cells come from your identical twin or triplet) - An advantage of syngeneic stem cell transplant is that graft-versus-host disease will not be a problem.
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