UVA Stem Cell Transplant Program
UVA Stem Cell Transplant Program
The UVA Stem Cell Transplant Program treats patients with high-risk and life-threatening blood diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome and others. Our clinic is recognized by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and has access to the Be The Match Registry, the world’s largest and most diverse bone marrow donor registry, greatly expanding the number of transplants we're able to provide to our patients.
Clinical & Research Expertise
UVA Cancer Center was selected as a transplant center for meeting the rigorous quality standards expected by the NMDP/Be The Match. According to the non-profit’s website, some of these criteria include:
- Medical directors with prior transplantation experience
- Nurses who are trained and experienced in the care of transplant patients
- A coordinator and patient advocate who are familiar with the issues of transplantation from an unrelated donor
- Experienced laboratories that meet the high standards set by professional laboratory organizations
UVA Cancer Center is one of only three NMDP/Be The Match programs in Virginia. Read an article about how UVA is expanding access to transplants for patients in need.
A Vital Treatment Option for Patients with Blood Cancer or Disorders
Stem cell transplantation is an effective form of therapy for an increasing number of cancerous and benign blood disorders. Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into and retain the properties of many cell types, providing a lifetime source of new cells for patients in need. In recent years, stem cell transplants have become a significant treatment option for patients with blood disorders because of increased survival rates.
- Autologous bone marrow transplant (uses stem cells from your own body)
- Allogeneic bone marrow transplant (uses stem cells from a relative or unrelated donor)
- Peripheral blood stem cell transplants, including umbilical cord blood transplant
- Marrow unrelated donor transplants, which offer patients access to the world's largest and most diverse bone marrow donor registry
The program's team includes more than 20 doctors, nurses and technical staff with experience that includes:
- More than 15 years of research and patient care in bone marrow, stem cell and umbilical cord transplant
- Work in umbilical cord blood stem cell biology that's helped create new treatments for patients with blood and heart diseases
About Stem Cell Transplants
Stem cells reside in both the spongy tissue inside bones and the peripheral blood. In patients with diseases like leukemia, stem cells malfunction and produce abnormal cells. In a stem cell / bone marrow transplant, stem cells are taken from healthy marrow or blood, filtered and given to a patient. When a transplant is successful, the new stem cells produce healthy blood cells.
It may take about a month for the donor stem cells in the bone marrow to begin to function fully. If the transplant is successful, new bone marrow cells will produce healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Stem cell transplantation may be done using:
- Stem cells that were taken from your own bone marrow or blood and stored
- Stem cells from a donor's bone marrow or blood
The Treatment Process
The Stem Cell Transplant Program evaluates and treats patients with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood disorders that need bone marrow, stem cell or umbilical cord blood transplants.
New patient evaluations are similar to typical doctor's office visit. At the new patient evaluation you can expect the following:
To meet with your transplant physician who has expertise in the treatment of blood cancers with stem cell transplantation. Your doctor will review your medical records, speak with you about treatment options and make recommendations
- A transplant nurse coordinator will meet with you to answer any questions you may have
- Meet with a social worker
- Receive information on donor testing (if applicable)
- Insurance verification for HLA (human leukocyte antigen) testing, which helps match donors and recipients
Once a graft source (the source of the cells) is identified, patients have another appointment at the clinic, where they will meet with a nurse coordinator, physician, social worker, pharmacist, financial coordinator and nutritionist. Patients learn about the clinic's team approach to care and the steps in the treatment process.
- Patient will return for 3-6 additional visits during the screening phase.
- The transplant is performed in the hospital in an inpatient setting.