Types of Stem Cell Transplant

Types of Stem Cell Transplant for Blood Cancer

The types of stem cell transplants we offer include:

  • Allogeneic transplant — doctors collect and transplant stem cells from a donor who matches the recipients' cells.
  • Autologous transplant — your care team harvests stem cells before other cancer treatments. Your doctor then transplants the stem cells, purged of abnormal cells, back into your body.
  • Cord blood — doctors harvest stem cells from an umbilical cord blood, and transplant them into the body.
  • Syngeneic transplant — this is like an allogeneic transplant except that we collect the donor cells from your identical twin.

Allogeneic stem cell transplants

Allogeneic stem cell transplants can potentially cure a range of cancerous and noncancerous blood disorders.

For the best overall results, the donor's blood must have a protein — called human leukocyte antigen (HLA) — that matches yours. The immune system uses HLA to tell the difference between your cells and the donor’s cells.

Testing helps to identify closely matched HLA types to reduce the risk of rejection.

If the match isn't close enough, the transplanted immune system — from the donor — will perceive your cells as foreign.

Your new immune system will mount an attack on your tissues. Doctors call this graft-versus-host disease.

If we can't find a perfect HLA cell match, a minimally mismatched or haploidentical donor can often provide a 50 percent match.

Doctors refer to this as a haploidentical allogenic stem cell transplant.

Because every person shares one HLA haplotype with each parent or child — and half a haplotype with his or her siblings — we can quickly find an eligible HLA-haploidentical in nearly all cases.

Autologous stem cell transplants

Autologous stem cell transplants tend to cause fewer side effects and complications than allogeneic transplants because they use your own cells.

But, separating the normal stem cells from the cancer cells presents an added challenge.

Doctors can treat your cells in a lab to purge them of cancer cells. But, there's still a risk of returning some cancer cells during the transplant.

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.