Transplantation of bone marrow and/or peripheral blood stem cells is currently used in conjunction with high dose chemotherapy for the intended curative treatment of certain blood disorders that include: Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), Hodgkin’s Disease (HD), several types of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) including Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) and Multiple Myeloma (MM).
Transplantation for solid tumors is now considered experimental.
When the patient’s own stem cells are used, the transplant is called autologous and when a relative’s or unrelated donor’s stem cells are used, the procedure is called allogeneic transplantation. The latter is associated also with an immune component called graft-versus host disease that may have possible benefits for disease control, but may also cause complications leading to increased morbidity and mortality.
Adequate quality of stem cells is of paramount importance and is measured in both cell number content and presence of CD34 positive cells administered per kilogram body weight, in addition with proof that there is no bacterial, fungal or viral contamination of collections. Stem cell donors undergo a rigorous screening process including a detailed confidential questionnaire and blood testing for a variety of diseases.
We maintain stem cell collections for clinical use in liquid nitrogen storage.
2. Therapeutic usage of marrow-derived mesenchymal (stromal) stem cells:
These procedures are not yet in the main stream of practice of medicine, but rapid developments indicate that soon they may become a clinical reality in the United States. As such, transplantation of mesenchymal (stromal) stem cells is performed only under closely monitored clinical trials with FDA approval. The reason for such monitoring is due to the fact that several weeks of in-vitro culture are necessary to procure an adequate number of mesenchymal (stromal) stem cells and demonstration of mesenchymal (stromal) cells’ ability to differentiate into other types of cells (like cartilage or bone-forming) is necessary.
Under clinical trials (performed so far mainly overseas) mesenchymal (stromal) stem cells were found to be successful for the treatment of cartilage and bone defects associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis or immune-related conditions like Graft-versus-Host Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.