Blood & Marrow Transplant

Published On 07/11/2011

The West Clinic The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Stem cells are those that grow in the bone marrow—forming the main blood cell types: white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Although they mainly reside in the marrow, stem cells can also be found in the blood.

Because of its effectiveness in killing cancer cells, high dose chemotherapy is, at times, the most effective treatment in the fight against cancer. During the process, however, damage to the bone marrow can occur, resulting in lower production of healthy blood cells.

Therefore, stem cells are collected through a process called apheresis and stored before the chemotherapy begins. Afterwards, stem cells are transplanted back into the patient. The stem cell transplant helps increase the body's ability to produce healthy blood cells.

Methodist most frequently performs transplants on adults with:

  • multiple myeloma
  • germ cell tumors
  • some lymphomas
  • leukemia

Through the Methodist Healthcare-West Clinic-University of Tennessee Health Science Center partnership, the West Cancer Center provides autologous blood stem cell or marrow transplants and autologous blood stem cell storage. All patients are treated in the Oncology Special Care Unit.

In autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (APBSCT), stem cells are collected from the bloodstream and stored for use later in patients treated with high doses of chemotherapy. The goal is to transplant healthy stem cells after high doses of chemotherapy. The healthy stem cells can restore the bone marrow’s ability to produce healthy blood cells.

For more information, or to contact the Blood & Marrow Transplant Center, please call 901.683.0055, ext. 1230.