For many blood cancers, transplanting healthy blood stem cells is one possible form of treatment — and often the only chance of a cure. Whether or not a patient can undergo a blood stem cell transplant and what method would be used, depends on numerous factors including their particular diagnosis, age and state of health.
There are three different types of transplant: autologous, allogeneic, and syngeneic.
An autologous blood stem cell transplant uses the patient’s own stem cells, which are harvested from the blood and cleared of cancer cells. The patient is given chemotherapy, and their stem cells are returned to the body.
An allogeneic stem cell transplant uses the blood stem cells of a related or unrelated donor with the closest possible match of tissue characteristics.
A syngeneic transplant is the rarest form of stem cell transplant, as it involves using the cells of identical twins.