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Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone Marrow Transplant at Medical City Dallas

Patients diagnosed with blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma or other blood disorders may benefit from bone marrow transplant, also known as stem cell therapy. Medical City’s Stem Cell Transplantation and Research (STAR) program is a shining example of the latest in oncological care. We are the only hospital in the Metroplex that performs both adult and pediatric stem cell transplants, including autologous (stem cells from self), allogeneic (stem cells from donor) and transplants using cells from umbilical cord blood. Our goal is to provide hope for prolonged survival and a cure for patients with cancer and blood disorders.

What is a bone marrow transplant?

Stem cell transplantation is a procedure that restores stem cells that have been destroyed by high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Three types of transplants are available:

  • Autologous transplant: Patients receive their own stem cells. Your stem cells or marrow are collected, frozen and stored. When needed, the stem cells are thawed and infused into you. The cells or marrow can be stored for years after freezing.
  • Syngeneic transplant: Patients receive stem cells from their identical twin.
  • Allogeneic transplant: Patients receive stem cells or marrow from a donor. The donor could be a sibling or a person who is not related to the patient. Blood tests, called Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing, determine the degree of compatibility between the patient and a donor. An HLA-matched, unrelated donor may be identified through the National Marrow Donor Program using a computerized list of volunteer donors.

Hematopoietic or blood-forming stem cells divide to form three types of blood cells: white blood cells, which fight infection; red blood cells, which carry oxygen; and platelets, which help the blood to clot. Most hematopoietic stem cells are found in the bone marrow, but some cells, called peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs), are found in the bloodstream. The umbilical cord also contains hematopoietic stem cells. The source of stems cells you will receive will depend on the type of transplant and your donor’s options.

The reason for bone marrow transplantation is to make it possible for patients to receive very high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. The chemotherapy is called "high-dose" because the doses are five to 10 times higher than the doses given during standard chemotherapy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy generally affect cells that divide rapidly. Cancer cells divide more rapidly than most healthy cells; however bone marrow cells also divide rapidly, so high dose treatment can damage the bone marrow. Without healthy bone marrow, patients are no longer able to make the blood cells needed to fight infection, carry oxygen and prevent bleeding.

The healthy transplanted stem cells can restore the bone marrow’s ability to produce the blood cells needed. Autologous transplant patients donate their cells prior to high-dose chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Allogeneic transplant donors usually donate cells on the day before or the day of transplant. If transplanted stem cells come from an umbilical cord, the cord will arrive at the Stem Cell Laboratory prior to the start of high dose chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

From clinical workup to transplantation, each facet of our stem cell program is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). To ensure access to international registries, which increases our chances of locating donors, we have a partnership with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). In addition, our Stem Cell Laboratory is FDA registered and accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks.

New Referral

Please call (972) 566-5246 for outpatient consults and (972) 566-4508 inpatient consults.