Stem Cell Transplant Program

Types of Stem Cell Transplant Treatment

Types of Stem Cell Transplants

UPMC CancerCenter participates in the International Bone Marrow Registry and the Autologous Blood and Marrow Transplant Registry, providing patients with the greatest opportunity to find a donor match if needed.

Additional Treatment Information

Graft vs Host Disease

Graft vs. host disease (GVHD) is a common condition that occurs when certain transplanted cells attack the body. There are two types of GVHD:

GVHD can last a lifetime, no matter when it develops. A few common symptoms include:

  • Changes in blood work
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in vision or taste
  • Dry eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin irritations
  • Weight loss

Because the key to treating this condition is early detection, the UPMC CancerCenter Stem Cell Transplant Program has launched the Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease and Long-Term Follow Up Program for patients who have received a stem cell transplant. The program is spearheaded by Annie Im, MD, assistant professor of medicine, and Mounzer Agha, MD, director of the Stem Cell Transplant Program.

After transplant there are unique risk factors and potential complications which require focused, multidisciplinary and comprehensive care. This clinic offers the type of attention required for transplant patients. Patients can be seen at the clinic every three to six months, depending on their specific needs.

Haploidentical Transplant

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation, when stem cells are collected from a donor, is a potentially curing treatment for a variety of hematologic malignancies and non-malignant blood disorders. To produce the best overall outcome, the donor must be a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched donor. HLA-matched donors can be a sibling, or someone unrelated. Unfortunately, HLA- matched donors can be found in only about 70 percent of transplant candidates and much less frequently for minorities.

In addition to umbilical cord blood transplant, a haploidentical transplant is an alternative for patients who lack HLA-matched donors.

The donor can be a:

Since any patient shares exactly one HLA haplotype with each biological parent or child and half of siblings, an eligible HLA-haploidentical donor can be identified rapidly in nearly all cases.

Cord Blood Transplant

A stem cell transplant is often the only treatment available to many patients with leukemia and lymphoma. A sibling, or even an unrelated adult, with a matching immune system can be a stem marrow donor. However, there are many people who don't have a matching donor, limiting their ability to get a transplant.

For these patients, the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers at Hillman Cancer Center offers umbilical cord blood transplants, in which stem cells are harvested from umbilical cord blood, and transplanted.

Recent studies have shown that umbilical cord transplants are just as effective as transplants from unrelated donors. We are excited to be able to provide even more patients with the best treatment for their leukemia or lymphoma.