Types of Stem Cell Transplantation

Stem cells for transplantation can be collected from the blood, bone marrow or umbilical cord blood. The Packard Children’s Hospital’s Stem Cell Transplant program offers a full range of stem cell transplantation options:

Autologous stem cell transplant – Healthy stem cells are collected from the patient's own blood or marrow. After treatment, the stored stem cells are infused into the patient’s blood. The healthy stem cells then find their way to the bone marrow and begin to produce new, healthy cells.

Allogeneic stem cell transplant – Healthy stem cells are collected from a related or unrelated donor. New, healthy donor stem cells help restore the blood-forming cells of the patient’s bone marrow. 

An allogeneic related donor’s stem cells genetically match, as close as possible, that of the patient. The donor may be a brother, sister or parent. Siblings have a 1 in 4 chance of being a match. The degree to which the donor's and patient's tissue match is done by a blood test called HLA typing.

An allogeneic unrelated donor (URD) is not related to the patient but has similar genetic typing. The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) makes it possible to find similar matches for patients that do not have a related donor. The NMDP registry is comprised of volunteer donors. New donors are added to the list daily. 

Haploidentical stem cell transplant – Healthy stem cells are collected from a parent or a related or unrelated donor. This provides a genetic match that is at least half identical to the recipient.

Syngeneic stem cell transplant – An identical twin is the stem cell donor. Identical twins have identical genetic types and are a “perfect” match.

Peripheral stem cell transplant – Stem cells are collected from the peripheral blood by apheresis. Apheresis is a process where blood is removed from the patient via an IV catheter, the stem cells are selected out by a machine, and the remainder of the blood is returned to the patient. The process takes 3-4 hours/day for 2-5 days total. The peripheral blood stem cells are most often used in the autologous setting where patients receive their own stem cells.

Cord blood stem cell transplant – Stem cells are collected from the umbilical cord/placenta immediately following birth. The cells can be stored (frozen) for future use. This can be from a sibling or unrelated donor. We currently perform related or unrelated cord blood transplants in our program.