Allogeneic stem cell transplant

Overview

An allogeneic stem cell transplant uses healthy blood stem cells from a donor to replace your diseased or damaged bone marrow. An allogeneic stem cell transplant is also called an allogeneic bone marrow transplant.

A donor may be a family member, an acquaintance or someone you don't know. The blood stem cells used in an allogeneic stem cell transplant can be:

  • Collected from the donor's blood
  • Collected from the bone marrow within a donor's hipbone
  • Collected from the blood of a donated umbilical cord

Before undergoing an allogeneic stem cell transplant, you'll receive high doses of chemotherapy or radiation to destroy your diseased cells and prepare your body for the donor cells.

Why it's done

An allogeneic stem cell transplant may be an option for people with a variety of cancerous and noncancerous diseases, including:

  • Acute leukemia
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Bone marrow failure syndromes
  • Chronic leukemia
  • Hemoglobinopathies
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Inborn errors of metabolism
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Plasma cell disorders
  • POEMS syndrome
  • Primary amyloidosis

What you can expect

Undergoing an allogeneic stem cell transplant involves:

  • Undergoing high doses of cancer treatment (conditioning). During the conditioning process, you'll receive high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy to kill your cancer cells. What treatment you undergo depends on your disease and your particular situation.

    The cancer treatments used during the conditioning process carry a risk of side effects. Talk with your doctor about what you can expect from your treatment.

  • Receiving an infusion of stem cells. Stem cells from a donor will be infused into your bloodstream, where they will travel to your bone marrow and begin creating new blood cells.
  • Remaining under close medical care. After your transplant your care team will want to monitor you carefully for signs of complications. You may spend a few weeks in the hospital or nearby. Expect to undergo frequent blood tests and appointments to monitor your body's response to the transplant.

It takes a few weeks for the donor cells to settle in your bone marrow and begin making new cells. You may receive blood transfusions until your bone marrow recovers.

Oct. 13, 2016
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  2. Blood and marrow stem cell transplantation. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. http://www.lls.org/resource-center/download-or-order-free-publications. Accessed July 8, 2016.