What is a stem cell transplant?

A stem cell transplant utilizes hematopoietic stem cells to treat several types of cancer. Hematopoietic stem cells are specialized cells found in the bone marrow that further differentiate to blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. In stem cell/ bone marrow transplants, healthy hematopoietic stem cells are transplanted in order to restore blood cell count and production. In the process your own stem cells are harvested then you are given high doses of chemotherapy to wipe out your bone marrow and immune system as well as the cancer cells. After your bone marrow is depleted you are saved by having your stem cells reinfused that repopulates your bone marrow with healthy cells. This form of treatment is utilized mostly for conditions such as myeloma, leukemia, other hematological malignancies and certain metastatic cancers.