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Types of Stem Cell Transplant Treatments For Cancer Patients In India

Types of Stem Cell Transplant Treatments For Cancer Patients In India

A stem cell transplant, also called the bone marrow transplant, is a treatment on some types of cancer. It is effective against leukemia, multiple myeloma, or some types of lymphoma. Doctors also treat some blood diseases with stem cell transplants.

There are 2 main types of transplants. They are named based on who gives the stem cells.

  • Autologous: The stem cells come from the same person who will get the transplant.
  • Allogenic: The stem cells come from a matched related or unrelated donor.

There’s also a third type called as Syngeneic transplant, where the stem cells are fetched from your identical twin, in case you have one. Onco-Life Cancer Centre has an expert team of hematologist in Pune, Mumbai, Satara region who will guide you in your decision.


In this type, your own stem cells are extracted from your blood or bone marrow and frozen into a facility before they are exposed to chemotherapy or radiation treatments and get destroyed in the process. After you are administered with high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation to kill the cancerous cells, the stem cells are thawed and given back to you.


The advantage of autologous stem cell transplant is that you get your own cells back, which is easier for your body to accept without dispute. You don’t have to worry about contracting an infection from the donor. However, there is still a possibility of graft failure where your cells are unable to produce blood cells as they should. Also, the autologous transplant does not produce the “graft-versus-cancer” effect, which will be explained further.


One major concern of an autologous transplant is the possibility of involuntarily collecting cancerous cells along with stem cells and later putting them back into the body. Another disadvantage is that your immune system remains the same as before, which means cancer can fight its way back into the system.

On the positive side though, technological advancement has now made it possible to treat the stem cells, rid them of cancer and strengthen them before inserting them back. This process is called ‘purging’.


Allogeneic stem cell transplants use cells from a donor, whose tissue type closely matches with the patient. The most ideal donor is a close family member, such as a brother or a sister. Transplants with a MUD (matched unrelated donor) are usually riskier than those with a relative who is a good match.

Blood extracted from the placenta and umbilical cord called the ‘cord blood’ of newborns is a newer source of stem cells for ‘allogenic’ transplant. Even a small volume has a high amount of healthy stem cells that multiply rapidly. But often, this amount is good enough only for kids and young adults but not for aged patients. One solution on this is to artificially stimulate cell growth in a lab. Also, a rare method involves dual cord blood transplant where blood from 2 cords is combined and used for one adult.


Graft vs Cancer Effect – The donor stem cells produce their own immune cells, which could help kill any cancer cells that remain after high-dose treatment. Another advantage is that the cancer-free donors can donate more cells whenever required, unlike the autologous procedure.


The transplanted donor stem cells could die or be destroyed by the patient’s body before settling in the bone marrow. Another risk is the ‘graft-versus-host’ where the immune cells from the donor may not just attack the cancer cells but also the healthy cells in the patient’s body. Graft-versus-host condition can, however, be treated with steroids or other drugs that suppress your immune system.

Who requires stem cell transplant?

Stem cell transplant is required to treat people with certain types of leukemia, lymphomas, and cancers such as that of the testicles. They may also be used for neuroblastoma and multiple myeloma.

It is very important that the donor and recipient are a close match to avoid graft rejection. Graft rejection happens when the recipient’s immune system recognizes the donor cells as foreign and tries to destroy them mistaking them of bacteria or virus. Graft rejection can lead to graft failure, but it’s rare when the donor and recipient are well matched.

If you are looking for medical advice on stem cell treatment or need a consultation, visit Onco-Life Cancer Centre, Satara. Onco-Life Cancer Centre is regarded as one of the foremost oncology centers for cancer treatment in Pune & adjoining area having on board, one of the best oncologist in Pune.

What Cancer Patients Need to Know Before Undergoing Stem Cell Transplant - Onco Life Cancer Centre

What Cancer Patients Need to Know Before Undergoing Stem Cell Transplant

Stem cells are the components present in your body, which bring forth all other specialized cells such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells or bone cells. No other cell in the body has the regenerating ability as stem cells. The most known types of blood cells being

  • White Blood cells – Which fight infection
  • Red Blood cells – Which transport oxygen throughout your body
  • Platelets – Which help the blood clot and prevent bleeding to death.

All the above cells are required to maintain a healthy body

What is a Stem Cell Transplant

Stem cell transplant is the clinical process of obtaining healthy blood-forming stem cells, procured either from your own body or from some other person’s, in order to replace the lost stem cells in your body. The stem cells are derived from the donor’s bloodstream, bone marrow or the umbilical cord. Stem cells are introduced into your bloodstream using a needle. Once in your blood, they have to travel to the bone marrow where they fill the void created by the lost cells.

When is a Stem Cell Transplant Recommended

A stem cell transplant is done when:

  • Your bone marrow or stem cells have failed to create any more blood cells.
  • Your bone marrow or blood cells have become infected.
  • You have a disease such as ‘cancer’ which can only be cured with high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment, which destroys both, cancer and your stem cells.

Before you go for a treatment, it is highly advised to consult your family doctor or a medical expert. If you are looking for a cancer specialist in Pune, Mumbai, Satara, then visit Onco-Life Cancer Centre – A state of art Super Specialty Cancer Hospital with second NABH Accreditation.

Stem cell transplants play a significant role in fighting against certain blood cancers, such as multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and leukemia. A stem cell transplant may add years to your life and in some cases, even cure blood cancers.

How Stem Cell Therapy Works

Stem Cells present in the bone marrow produce blood cells such as the White blood cells, Red blood cells and also the platelets. Cancer cells feed on your bone marrow and damage it. Ironically, the chemotherapy and radiation treatment, which is used to kill the cancerous cells, also ends up destroying the stem cells present in the bone marrow.  A stem cell transplant recovers the damage, by planting new, cancer free and healthy cells, in place of destroyed ones to let them reproduce further.

Note that these stem cells may be derived from your own blood where cancer has not yet reached or from another person –  a donor who needs to match your blood type.

What to Expect Before the Stem Cell Transplant

  • The patient or the donor will be administered special injections four or five days before drawing the blood. These injections will lodge the blood-forming stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream in order to enable extraction of stem cells via the blood.
  • Once extracted, the stem cells will be frozen to keep them preserved
  • The patient will then undergo a conditioning treatment which is a high or low dose chemotherapy/radiation therapy which indiscriminately kills all the cells including cancer and stem cells. Onco-Life Cancer Center has an expert team of radiation oncologist in Pune, Mumbai, Satara region at your service.

What to Expect During the Stem Cell Transplant

  • The patient will be required to remain seated on a chair for several hours as the process of infusion of new stem cells take place
  • The infusion is done using a surgical port in the patient’s neck called the central line
  • The patient will be under observation and will be monitored for any indications of fever, chills, hives or a drop in blood pressure.
  • Mild side effects such as headache, nausea, and shortness of breath are common.

What to Expect After the Stem Cell Transplant

  • After two to four weeks, the new stem cells graft to the bone marrow and first starts manufacturing new white blood cells, followed by platelets, then red blood cells.
  • In the case of donor blood cells, antibiotics will be provided for the body to accept the new cells without rejection
  • The patient will be required to stay hospitalized in a clean place and under observation for a month in order to avoid any external infection. Visitors will be asked to wear masks.

About two months post the transplant, the doctor may take a sample of bone marrow from the patient’s hip to check the production of all types of blood cells.

Before you undergo the treatment, consult with your doctor to know the possibilities. Visit Onco-life, a highly trusted name for cancer treatment in Pune, Mumbai, Satara, and entire Western Maharashtra.