About Blood and Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplantation

We offer the full range of blood and bone marrow stem cell transplants currently available.

The term "blood and bone marrow stem cell transplant" is a newer and more accurate description of the therapy also known as bone marrow transplant (BMT). Stem cells found in the blood and bone marrow are immature cells that develop into red and white blood cells, platelets and additional stem cells (they are not the same as embryonic stem cells). Blood and bone marrow stem cell transplantation involves the harvesting of stem cells from the bone marrow or the blood of a patient or donor. These healthy stem cells are then transfused into the patient after their unhealthy bone marrow has been destroyed or eliminated by chemotherapy or radiation.

Types of Stem Cell Transplants

Stem cells are prepared for transplant Stem cells are prepared for transplant.

The University of Chicago Medicine offers the full range of blood and bone marrow stem cell transplants currently available. This includes haplo-cord transplant, a novel approach to transplantation that was pioneered at the University of Chicago Medicine in recent years. Using a combination of half-match stem cells from a related donor and cord blood stem cells, haplo-cord transplant opens the option of transplantation to nearly all patients for whom the procedure was previously not available.

Transplants types are categorized by the source of the donor:
Autologous transplants: Patients receive their own stem cells.

Syngeneic transplants: Patients receive stem cells from an identical twin.

Allogeneic transplants: Patients receive stem cells from a person other than an identical twin. Allogeneic transplants include:

  • Related donor transplants - patient's sibling, parent or other matched blood relative donates stem cells.
  • Alternative donor transplants -
    • Unrelated donor transplants - stem cells come from a matched donor who has been identified through the National Marrow Donor Program.
    • Haplo-cord transplants - this transplant method involves a combination of donated cord blood stem cells and half-matched (haploidentical) cells from a related donor.
    • Cord blood transplants - stem cells are retrieved from donated umbilical cord blood.