A bone marrow or cord blood transplant begins with chemotherapy, with or without radiation, to destroy the diseased cells and marrow. The transplant replaces diseased blood-forming cells with healthy ones. The type of transplant used for SAA is an allogeneic transplant. This type of transplant uses healthy blood-forming cells from a family member, unrelated donor, or umbilical cord blood unit.
At the start of the transplant process, a patient gets chemotherapy to prepare his or her body for the treatment. Then the replacement cells are infused into the patient’s blood stream. From there, the cells find their way into the bone marrow, where they start making healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The entire transplant process, from chemotherapy until normal cells grow, can last weeks to months with many months of recovery.
A transplant can be the first treatment chosen or it can be used after drug therapy. For many patients with SAA, getting a referral to a transplant doctor early in their disease may offer the best route to a cure.
Understanding if transplant would help your SAA
Our patient services coordinators can answer your questions and provide support and education to help you navigate your transplant journey.
Aplastic anemia can be moderate or severe. Only severe aplastic anemia is treated with a bone marrow transplant. Whether a transplant is right for you depends on several things, such as your age, overall health, and severity of your disease. A transplant doctor can help you decide if a transplant is right for you.
Depending on a variety of factors, getting a transplant early in the course of the disease may offer the best route to a cure. Patients with SAA typically get blood transfusions to ease the symptoms of SAA, but that may also lower the chance that a later transplant will be successful. For this reason, doctors recommend that patients be referred to a transplant doctor as soon as they are diagnosed.1 When you talk to a transplant doctor, you will learn about the risks and benefits of an allogeneic transplant.
1. Recommended Timing for Transplant Consultation. Guidelines developed jointly by National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT). Available at: marrow.org/md-guidelines