Stem Cell Transplant Process

UPMC has a long and successful history of tissue, organ, and blood transplantation. For decades, we’ve pioneered leading-edge techniques to overcome the challenges of making the most of the donated tissues at hand.

Our experts at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center are leaders in the use of stem cell transplantation for treating blood cancers.

From your first consult to testing, infusion, and follow-up, the stem cell transplant process is complex.

Your blood cancer care team — including stem cell transplant surgeons — will work together to guide you through it. And, your stem cell transplant coordinator will make sure we answer all of your questions.

Before your transplant, the stem cell transplant team will carefully assess you to find out your specific needs.

For some types of blood cancer, people must have high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy before their stem cell transplant. This will kill the current bone marrow that's making the cancer cells.

After you complete the chemo or radiation pretreatment, your doctor will infuse you with the healthy stem cells.  

Over time — about two to four weeks — the stem cells will restore your body's blood cells.

To protect your health while the transplanted stem cells are growing, you might receive:

  • Antibiotics and other drugs
  • Platelets
  • Blood products

Follow-up care varies based on the type of stem cell transplant you have.

Your care team will give you details and help schedule follow-up appointments.

Side Effects of Stem Cell Transplantation

Every treatment approach to cancer can cause side effects.

For stem cell transplants, side effects can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Graft-versus-host disease
  • Hair loss
  • Infection
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low blood counts
  • Mouth and throat pain
  • Nausea
  • Organ damage

Your specialized stem cell transplant team will take every precaution to increase the chance of a positive result.

We'll also work to help you cope with any of these symptoms.

Contact Us About Stem Cell Transplant for Blood Cancer

Contact UPMC Hillman Cancer Center about blood cancer treatment by calling 412-647-2811.

To reach the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers, call 412-864-6600.