High-dose chemotherapy and allogeneic bone marrow or blood stem cell transplantation is a treatment strategy that utilizes the administration of high doses of anti-cancer drugs and/or radiation therapy for the purpose of killing cancer cells and transplantation of stem cells to "rescue" or restore bone marrow blood and immune cell production. Transplantation is the term for transfer of tissue (a graft) from one person to another. Allogeneic is the term for a tissue graft from one person to another.
There are many types of allogeneic grafts that can be transplanted from one person to another, including skin, heart, kidney, liver, etc. However, the easiest organ in the body to transplant is the bone marrow. This is because a small quantity of stem cells taken from the bone marrow or peripheral blood of one person can repopulate the entire bone marrow organ of another person. In contrast to other types of transplants, the donor does not "miss" the small amount of bone marrow stem cells removed. A small quantity of bone marrow contains stem cells that are capable of dividing rapidly and repopulating the entire blood and immune system of another person within a short period of time.
High-dose chemotherapy and allogeneic stem cell transplantation is a component of an overall treatment strategy utilized to treat many kinds of cancer. High-dose chemotherapy and allogeneic stem cell transplantation may be appropriately utilized as the initial or subsequent treatment, depending on the type of cancer. It is not a treatment of last resort. The role of stem cell transplantation in the management of a specific cancer should be carefully planned following an initial diagnosis of cancer. To learn more about allogeneic stem cell transplantation and the role it may play in the treatment of your cancer, select one of the following.