Disease Information

Stem Cell / Bone Marrow Transplant: Allogeneic Stem Cell / Bone Marrow Transplant

Alternate Names: bone marrow transplant, BMT, hematopoietic stem cell transplant, HSCT

Definition

An allogeneic stem cell / bone marrow transplant replaces damaged or destroyed bone marrow stem cells with healthy ones from a donor. The “allo” prefix means “other,” meaning that healthy cells are taken from someone other than your child. (Learn about a transplant that uses your child’s own stem cells: autologous stem cell / bone marrow transplant.)

Stem cells are produced in the spongy area of bones known as marrow. These cells develop into all types of blood cells in the body. In an allogeneic stem cell / bone marrow transplant, the donated healthy cells grow and produce normal blood cells that help fight disease.

This procedure may also be used when, as part of treatment, your child’s diseased marrow has been destroyed using chemotherapy or radiation therapy.


What are allogeneic stem cell / bone marrow transplants used to treat?

These transplants are used to treat a number of blood-related cancers and other diseases, including:


What happens before an allogeneic stem cell / bone marrow transplant?

First, a donor must be found whose healthy bone marrow, or stem cells from it, can be transplanted into the patient’s bone marrow. The donor can be a relative or an unrelated person. Stem cells can also be collected after birth from the blood left in the placenta or the baby’s umbilical cord.

Before the transplant, the patient typically receives chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. This kills at least some of the cancer cells and increases the chance that the transplant will be successful. At the same time that these therapies kill cancer cells they can also destroy many healthy blood cells.


How are allogeneic stem cell / bone marrow transplants done?

After the chemotherapy and / or radiation treatment is complete, the donor’s healthy stem cells are transplanted into your child’s bloodstream:


What problems can occur with allogeneic stem cell / bone marrow transplants?

During the time before your child’s treated bone marrow can begin producing new, healthy cells:


What are the survival rates for allogeneic stem cell / bone marrow transplants?

Five-year survival rates for patients treated with allogeneic stem cell / bone marrow transplants vary widely, depending on:

Findings have been encouraging in recent St. Jude studies. Researchers report the following five-year survival rates after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (despite half of the patients having persistent leukemia at the time of transplant and less than one-third having a well-matched sibling donor):


Why come to St. Jude for allogeneic bone marrow / stem cell transplantation?

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