Blood and Marrow Transplants
Our Blood and Marrow Transplant Program has been successfully performing every type of blood and marrow transplant for more than 30 years. With a team of experts dedicated to your care and the latest condition regimens, we provide some of the best transplant outcomes in Southern California.
Our Approach to Blood and Marrow Transplant
Our hematology and oncology experts specialize in blood and marrow transplants. Our specialists have decades of experience providing great results and compassionate care. Our program offers:
We are one of only 17 centers in the country considered to have superior outcomes.
We prepare you for a successful transplant using the latest, evidence-based transplant protocols. These standards of care involve supportive care measures and conditioning regimens that prevent complications.
Pharmacists are an important part of your dedicated care team. They review your medications daily to ensure the safety of your treatment.
What Is Bone Marrow?
Bone marrow is the soft tissue found inside bones. Its main purpose is to make blood cells.
Stem cells in the bone marrow make the body's three main types of blood cells:
- White blood cells (WBCs) fight infection by killing bacteria and viruses. When there are too few white blood cells in the body, you have a harder time fighting infection.
- Red blood cells (RBCs) bring oxygen from the lungs to the body's cells. The body needs oxygen in its cells to process nutrients in food. People who have too few red blood cells are anemic. They can experience dizziness, lightheadedness or shortness of breath.
- Platelets clot the blood and help stop bleeding. A low number of platelets can cause you to bruise and bleed too easily.
What Is a Marrow Transplant?
The goal of a marrow transplant is to get rid of cancerous cells and replace them with healthy blood cells. There are many different types of marrow transplant procedures. You and your doctor should discuss the best type of transplant for your diagnosis.
Doctors transplant cells called hematopoietic stem cells. These cells can produce all the cells that circulate in the blood, along with all the cells of the immune system.
Hematopoietic stem cells come from the bone marrow (bone marrow transplant) or from the blood (stem cell transplant). When the stem cells come from:
- Your body, doctors call it an autologous transplantation
- Someone else’s body, doctors call it an allogeneic transplantation
Allogeneic and Autologous Transplants: What to Expect
Our team of blood cancer experts holds weekly meetings to discuss the appropriateness of transplant for each patient. If we determine that a marrow transplant is best for you, our team works with you from the beginning to give you a clear understanding of what’s involved.
You meet with a transplant physician who reviews your medical history in detail and examines you.
- Within a week, an expert presents your case to the Blood and Marrow Transplant Patient Selection Committee. During this meeting, your transplant team discusses if transplant is appropriate for your case.
- If we consider transplant appropriate, you will be assigned a coordinator to shepherd you through an evaluation process.
- You will receive a Patient Education Notebook. A nurse coordinator will discuss the content of this notebook with you. It includes information about screening tests, transplant procedures and care after the transplant procedure.
- You first go through a process called mobilization and collection. During this step, doctors increase the number of stem cells in your blood with white blood cell growth factor injections. They then collect the stem cells from your bloodstream through a plastic tube they insert in your neck. A machine collects the cells over four hours each day. This is an outpatient procedure.
- Then you go through a conditioning regimen designed to kill remaining cancer cells. Regimens include high-dose chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy.
- Once you complete your conditioning regimen, doctors infuse your cells into your body. This infusion is similar to a blood transfusion.
- We first need to find the right donor for you. Stem cells can come from siblings, someone who is not related to you or a baby's umbilical cord blood. We do HLA testing—which requires a small blood sample and sometimes a cheek swab—to find the best match for you.
- Once we've identified a donor, you undergo a conditioning regimen consisting either of just chemotherapy, or chemotherapy and radiation, to kill remaining cancer cells. The regimen also reduces your risk for rejecting the donor cells.
- Once you complete your conditioning regimen, you undergo the allogeneic transplant. Doctors infuse the donor cells into your vein like a blood transfusion.
Download our autologous transplant patient education notebooks:
- English: Autologous Stem Cell Transplant Patient Education Guide 2021 Edition (PDF)
- Spanish: Trasplante Autólogo de Células Madre, Educación para Pacientes Edición de 2021 (PDF)
Download our allogeneic transplant patient education notebooks:
- English: Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant Patient Education Guide 2021 Edition (PDF)
- English: Allogeneic Related Donor Information for Stem Cell Transplant 2021 Edition (PDF)
- Spanish: Trasplante Alogénico de Células Madre, Educación para Pacientes Edición de 2021 (PDF)
- Spanish: Información para donantes emparentados para trasplante alogénico de células madre Edición 2021 (PDF)