Depending on the patient and the disease being treated, different types of transplants are used:
Autologous: Stem cells are obtained from the patient by a process called a stem cell harvest or stem cell apheresis. These cells are then usually frozen down (cryopreserved). They will be thawed and infused into the patient’s blood stream after completion of intensive chemotherapy and will allow rapid recovery from the effects of chemotherapy. Since the patient’s own cells are used, the term hematopoietic rescue rather than the term transplant is sometimes utilized.
Allogeneic: Transplant of stem cells from a related or unrelated donor with a similar human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type. The treatment of choice for many patients with blood disorders, particularly those with leukemia, but also used for certain patients with lymphoma, myeloma, sickle cell disease and thalassemia. For allogeneic transplant, we initially try to identify a related donor for an HLA-identical sibling transplant, also called a matched related donor transplant (MRD). If such a donor is not available, we contact the National Marrow Donor Program for identification of a matching unrelated donor (MUD). Many patients lack such donors, but can still successfully undergo transplant using a haplo-identical donor, an umbilical cord blood donor or a combination of umbilical cord blood and haplo-identical donor in a haplo-cord transplant.
Haplo-Cord: A transplant procedure available to patients who don’t have an exact match. Through this process, patients receive stem cells from a single umbilical cord blood unit combined with stem cells from an adult donor who is partially matched to the patient.
Double-Cord: This is another technique used when someone does not have a suitably-matched related or unrelated donor. The umbilical cord blood collected following the delivery of a baby contains a large number of blood-forming stem cells that can be used for stem cell transplantation. In this type of transplant, the stem cells from two different cords are combined and transplanted into the patient.