A stem cell transplant specialist will begin the evaluation by reviewing your medical record and history, performing a physical exam and discussing the procedure with you. If your doctor decides that you are a candidate for an autologous stem cell transplant, he or she will recommend a treatment plan.
Before being admitted to the hospital, you will have several days of laboratory and other diagnostic tests to determine if you have normal function of the heart, lungs, kidney and liver and that you do not have an undiagnosed infection. Most of these tests will be done as an outpatient before you are admitted to the hospital, but others may need to be completed after you are admitted for treatment. These tests may include:
Stem cells are found predominantly in the bone marrow but can be stimulated to travel out into the blood. When the stem cells are collected from the hip bone via many bone marrow aspirations, which are usually performed in the operating room, the transplant procedure is called a bone marrow transplant. This is very rarely done these days. When the stem cells are collected from the blood after stimulating the stem cells with a hormone called G-CSF, or a novel agent called prelixafor, the transplant is called a peripheral blood stem cell transplant. Currently, most transplant procedures involve collecting stem cells from the peripheral blood.
When bone marrow or blood stem cells are infused into the patient, they are administered through an intravenous catheter (IV) or central venous catheter, just like a blood transfusion. The stem cells are not administered directly back into the bone, but travel to the bones from the blood stream.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.