Blood and Marrow Transplant
Blood and marrow transplantation is a special treatment procedure which may be appropriate for some cases of multiple myeloma, leukemia and lymphoma.
The Nebraska Medical Center stem cell transplantation program has been ranked as one of the busiest adult and pediatric stem cell transplantation programs in the world. The program, which was established in 1983, has been recognized internationally for pioneering autologous transplantation using peripheral stem cells as an alternative rescue product; conducting ground-breaking transplant studies; and performing transplants in alternate settings other than traditional inpatient hospital units.
The Nebraska Medical Center is the only hospital in the country with two physicians on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's (NCCN) board of directors and the only National Cancer Center (NCI) designated cancer center in this region of the country. Patients receiving care at The Nebraska Medical Center receive both the clinical expertise of our academic and private practice physicians and have access to new procedures and technology through the work of researchers performing blood and marrow clinical trials at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
While the transplant procedures take place in the hospital, a patient can move to The Lied Transplant Center for recovery and to participate in cooperative care once they are ambulatory, or able to move around. Cooperative care is a revolutionary approach that allows patients and their care partners to play an active role in the treatment and recovery process following transplantation, cancer care and treatment of other illnesses.
Care partners, usually a family member or friend, assist in all aspects of the recovery process including administering medications, monitoring health changes, attending informational classes and more. The cooperative care environment allows patients and care partners to learn the skills they will need when they return home. Care partners and patients stay in a comfortable home-like suite that includes a private bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchenette and two televisions. Support groups are also available for those in need of support during and after cancer treatment.
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)
- National Cancer Institute (NCI)
- Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT)
- Magnet Status awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
- Oncology Certified Nurses
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers
Make an appointment with blood and marrow transplant specialists by calling 800-922-0000. For clinic location and hours use the Find a Physician link.
- Mojtaba Akhtari, MD
- James Armitage, MD
- Philip Bierman, MD
- Robert Bociek, MD
- Edward Faber Jr, MD
- Lori Maness, MD
- Sandeep Rajan, MD
- Julie Vose, MD
Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside the bones, which produces many cells of the blood. In diseases involving the bone marrow, such as leukemia and aplastic anemia, normal bone marrow production has been altered. The bone marrow produces abnormal numbers or abnormal types of blood cells. In other diseases such as lymphoma, testicular cancer and breast cancer, the marrow may or may not be directly affected, but the cancer does involve other cells in the body.
The process of Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (HCT) is a type of transfusion, not a surgical procedure. In transplantation, the transfusion consists of collecting special cells from the marrow or the blood, called stem cells. These stem cells are an early form of blood cell that produces red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and additional stem cells. Normally in cancer treatment, the effect of therapy on the bone marrow limits the amount of treatment that can be given. When we give stem cells from the marrow or peripheral blood as a “rescue” transfusion, it is possible to give higher doses of therapy. This, of course, increases the chances of a good response to the therapy.
The stem cells used for the rescue or recovery are collected from the patient or a donor and then given to the patient after the cancer therapy has been administered. There are different types of transplants; each is named according to the donor of the stem cells. Blood and marrow stem cell transplants are grouped into several categories based on how the stem cells are collected. These include:
- Bone marrow transplant is a procedure where the stem cells are collected from the bone marrow.
- Peripheral blood stem cell transplant is the procedure where the stem cells are collected from the peripheral blood.
- Allogeneic (al-lo-jen-a-ick) transplant is the term used when the transplanted bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are collected from a person specifically typed and matched with the patient. Usually this is a relative such as a brother or sister, known as a related transplant. In some instances the donor may be an individual from the National Marrow Donor Program; when this is the case, it is called an unrelated transplant. If an autologous transplant is being done stem cells will be specially prepared, preserved and then frozen. These cells will then be carefully thawed prior to infusion during the transplant.
- Autologous (aw-tall-o-gus) transplant is the term used when a patient’s own bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells. The patient will donate the stem cells before radiation and chemotherapy for infusion later in the treatment process.