Autologous, Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplants
Bone marrow is the spongy tissue found inside bones. It contains stem cells that produce the body’s blood cells. A bone marrow transplant, also called a hematopoietic stem cell transplant, replaces unhealthy stem cells that can no longer produce blood cells with healthy cells. Stem cells can be harvested for transplant from bone marrow, the umbilical cord blood or from peripheral blood (the blood that circulates throughout the body).
While commonly called a bone marrow transplant, the procedure can also be called a peripheral blood stem cell transplant or a cord blood transplant, depending on the source of the stem cells.
Bone Marrow Transplant Types
As a recognized leader in research and academic medicine, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin’s BMT Program offers a complete range of transplant therapies, including additional options available through clinical trials.
There are two types of bone marrow transplants — allogeneic and autologous.
- Allogeneic transplants use stem cells from another person. Two alternative transplant methods, cord blood transplants and haplo transplants, are also allogeneic transplants.
- The cord blood method uses stem cells from donated umbilical cord blood.
- Haplo (meaning “half matched”) transplants can be an alternative when a suitable matched donor can’t be found. A haplo transplant usually involve a parent, sibling or child.
- Autologous transplants involve a patient receiving his or her own stem cells that were previously collected and stored.
Finding a Donor
Patients and families often have questions about finding a donor. The BMT Program works with each patient’s family members to screen them for eligibility. If there is no match, a donor search coordinator will review the international Be The Match® registry to identify any potential matches. The process of finding a donor takes approximately four to six weeks for a related donor, and an additional six weeks for an unrelated donor.