Types of Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy
If you need a stem cell transplant, you have multiple options at Henry Ford. Our team is among only a few in Michigan with the expertise to perform all types of stem cell transplants. Your care team recommends a transplant type that gives you the best chance for a longer, healthier life.
Stem cell sources
Deciding what stem cell source to use for a transplant is critical to the success of the procedure. Our team considers three sources of blood-forming stem cells:
- Blood: A peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT) collects stem cells that the bone marrow releases into the bloodstream. Medication can boost the production of these stem cells, so there are enough to collect. We were the first program in Michigan to use this approach, which is less painful and quicker to recover from than tapping bone marrow in the hipbone.
- Bone marrow: Marrow is the spongy tissue inside bones that produces blood cells. Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) isn’t used as often as other approaches, but it’s the best option for certain patients.
- Umbilical cord blood: We use blood from two donated umbilical cords, an approach called dual cord transplant. This method provides enough stem cells for one adult transplant.
Sometimes you can receive a transplant of your own stem cells. Your doctor will talk with you about whether you can donate your own stem cells or if you need a donor match.
Types of stem cell transplants at Henry Ford
Stem cell transplants we offer include:
- Autologous: You receive a transplant of your own stem cells. The stem cells come from your blood or, less commonly, your bone marrow. Learn more about autologous stem cell transplant.
- Allogeneic: You receive stem cells donated from a related or unrelated donor or umbilical cord blood. Learn more about allogeneic stem cell transplant.
- Haploidentical: This is a newer type of allogeneic stem cell transplant. You receive healthy, blood-forming cells from a “half-matched” donor, such as a parent, child, sibling or cousin.
- Syngeneic: You receive stem cells donated from your identical twin or triplet. Learn more about syngeneic stem cell transplant.
Preventing and treating graft-versus-host disease
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a complication of allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
GVHD happens when donated bone marrow or stem cells (the graft) treat your healthy cells (the host) as foreign objects. White blood cells in the graft, called T cells, attack healthy cells.
You can develop GVHD at any time after a transplant, but it’s most common after marrow begins forming healthy cells.
To prevent GVHD, we can prescribe antirejection medications, so T cells in the graft don’t attack healthy cells. During your recovery and follow-up visits, we carefully monitor you to identify and treat GVHD before it becomes serious.
Types of cellular immunotherapy at Henry Ford
Cellular immunotherapy modifies your immune system cells to target cancer cells without damaging most of your healthy tissue. You receive infusions of these modified cells to help your body fight cancer cells.
Our transplant specialists work closely with other experts at Henry Ford Cancer Institute to customize your cellular immunotherapy treatment plan. Our team brings together multiple specialists under one roof to consult on your care.
Henry Ford is at the forefront of this rapidly changing field, offering leading-edge cellular immunotherapy options such as: