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Sometimes patients have disorders in which the bone marrow is replaced by abnormal or cancer cells, such as leukemia, or sometimes a patient’s own bone marrow cells are unable to grow, divide and function normally. When this occurs a stem cell transplant may be helpful and curative. Stem cell transplantation means new bone marrow “stem cells” are given to replace the abnormal and/or cancer cells. Patients at AdventHealth for Children, formerly Florida Hospital for Children, are first given treatment such as chemotherapy and/or radiation to destroy the abnormal cells, make “space” for the new stem cells, and prevent their own bodies from rejecting the new cells.
Different Types of Stem Cell Transplants Include:
- Bone Marrow Transplant
A bone marrow transplant involves replacing damaged or destroyed bone marrow with stem cells in order to regrow healthy bone marrow. Chemotherapy, radiation or both may be given before a transplant to kill any cancer cells or damaged cells in order to help the healthy cells grow. Stem cells are delivered to your body via your bloodstream through a central venous catheter, allowing the cells to travel into the bone marrow. Your doctor may request a bone marrow transplant if you’ve had cancer, chemotherapy that destroyed your bone marrow, or certain diseases that affect your bone marrow growth. This procedure is usually performed in a specialized hospital or medical center and may require you to stay in the transplant center to avoid getting an infection.
- Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant
A procedure in which a patient receives healthy blood-forming cells (stem cells) to replace their own stem cells that have been destroyed by disease or by the radiation or high doses of anticancer drugs that are given as part of the procedure. The healthy stem cells may come from the blood of the patient or a donor. A peripheral blood stem cell transplant may be autologous (using a patient’s own stem cells that were collected and saved before treatment), allogeneic (using stem cells donated by someone who is not an identical twin), or syngeneic (using stem cells donated by an identical twin).
- Stem Cell Transplant
Stem cell transplantation is used in the treatment of patients with a wide variety of blood disorders and cancers, including different kinds of leukemia as well as sickle cell anemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin’s disease, myelodysplastic syndromes and bone marrow failure syndromes. In an autologous transplant – commonly called an AUTO transplant – stem cells are retrieved from the patient’s own body and frozen prior to the patient being treated with chemotherapy. The cells are later thawed and reintroduced to the patient’s blood via IV. Upon reaching the patient’s bone marrow (after about 24 hours), the cells will begin to expand and multiply, thereby helping in the production of healthy new blood cells. Allogeneic transplantation is a similar procedure that uses stem cells from a donor which usually are not previously frozen. Cord blood (from a baby’s umbilical cord) is also sometimes used in this type of transplantation.
- Hemopoietic Cell Transplant
Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is the intravenous infusion of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells designed to establish marrow and immune function in patients with a variety of acquired and inherited malignant and nonmalignant disorders. These include hematologic malignancies (eg, leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma), nonmalignant acquired bone marrow disorders (eg, aplastic anemia), and genetic diseases associated with abnormal hematopoiesis and function (thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, and severe combined immunodeficiency). HCT is also used in the support of patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy for the treatment of certain solid tumors for whom hematologic toxicity would otherwise limit drug administration (germ cell tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, and neuroblastoma).
- Hemopoietic Progenitor Cell Transplant
A progenitor cell is a cell at a stage in between stem cells and functional cells. Hematopoietic progenitor cells are found in the bone marrow that produce red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. These cells can be collected from the patient’s own blood, bone marrow, cord blood collected from a mother’s placenta after a child is born, or donated blood. Once acquired, these cells are infused into the bloodstream where they can begin to produce healthy new blood and immune system cells. This procedure is often used to treat leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, blood disorders, immunodeficiency and bone marrow syndromes.
To put your child at ease, we have created a scare-free zone where patients feel right at home among the many familiar special touches that make our hospital kid-friendly. Plus, every member of our staff cares deeply about the health and well-being of our young patients and goes out of their way to make your visit here as stress-free as possible.
To learn more about AdventHealth for Children's world-class pediatric cellular transplant program, call 407-303-5437 or request an appointment.