Treatments & Services

Transplant Information

A bone marrow transplant may involve administering chemotherapy alone or in combination with total body irradiation to rid the body of disease. The process also usually destroys a person's bone marrow including the immune system, which is derived from cells in the bone marrow. Healthy bone marrow previously collected from the patient or from a matched donor is then infused into the patient.

The general term "bone marrow transplant" is also used to describe Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant or simply Stem Cell Transplant. The difference between the two involves the origin of the replacement cells and the method of collection.

Bone marrow is collected in the hospital under general anesthesia. It is a liquid that resembles blood and is taken from the center of large bones, generally the large pelvic bone, using a needle and syringe. The entire process can take hours.

In a stem cell collection, stem cells, which are the most immature cells in the bone marrow, can be coaxed into the peripheral circulation. Once in the circulatory system, they are collected through a process called apheresis. Apheresis is similar to giving blood; however, only stem cells are removed via a pheresis machine and the remaining blood components are returned to the vein. The procedure is perfomed in the outpatient clinici and takes approximately 3-4 hours. It is painless and there is no anesthesia involved. The collection process may occur over a period of 1-5 days.

Receiving the transplant is similar to receiving a blood transfusion. The healthy cells seek their place in the bone marrow and begin to make a new population of healthy blood cells.

For more information, please call the Temple Bone Marrow Transplant Program at 215-214-3122.