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Has anyone done stem-cell transplant?

gerbil runner

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My mom had another interesting appt. with her oncologist. He wants to send her to Dana-Farber to see if she is a candidate for autologous (self-donated) stem-cell transplant. Her onc had consulted with a buddy now in Colorado whom he had practiced with for years. His opinion was to go for it. Mom would get at least 2 opinions before proceding.

Basically, the patient has stem-cells harvested and then endures a really tough, short course of chemo which wipes out the bone marrow. The previously-harvested stem cells are then replaced in the body. It takes about 3 weeks for the body to recover to "normal" disease-resistance.

Mom wants to do it if they'll take her - it's about the only course of treatment that has a real possibility of cure, according to the onc.

My brief research on the web (will do more) seems to indicate she would be part of a clinical trial.

Has anyone had this procedure? Looked into it? Known anyone who did it? Found any good information?

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A distant cousin of mine has been battling hodgkins (or non-hodgkins -- I'm embarresed that I don't know :oops: ) for the past year and was just informed that that could be a possible treatment for him. They said it would be brutal and risky, but offered the best opportunity for a cure.

I will see if I can get more information from him and let you know his thoughts!

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That is a fairly normal way to proceed for multiple myloma, and non-hodgkins lymphoma and other blood cancers, but I didn't know that they were considering it for solid type tumors.

Basically you undergo whole body radiation and kill off all your bone marrow and other growing cells. That means living in a sterile environment in the hospital for about 6 weeks... and then the injection of stem cells... and then waiting until they seed and begin to regenerate your blood...

There's plenty of people that have had the procedure, but for other reasons, so the procedure itself is not experimental.

If that's the way you decide to go, good luck with it. It is a serious investment of time.

Prayers going out for you.



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HI Jen,

I haven't posted much in the past few months, but I saw your recent question and I wanted to respond.

I work for the Dana-Farber here in Boston, and I split my time with research between the Farber and the Brigham and Women's Hospital on the bone marrow transplant floor. Because Dana Farber is an outpatient only facility, they do transplants at the Brigham (all buildings connected by tunnels) The auto bone marrow transplant (BMT) is fairly high risk for people who have blood cancers (lymphoma etc). It is, in most cases, the only way to acheive prolonged remission or cure for these chemo-resistant patients.

In the past eight years or so, they have expanded the procedure to include people who have certain solid tumors. The most research in that area is on Breast Cancer. They have, in certain circumstances, achieved cures for women in stage III and IV. Because it works with these patients(sometimes), researchers are looking to see how it works for people with other types of solid tumors. At the Brigham and Dana Farber, there was some protocols years ago that looked at its role with SCLC. The data here was not promising, and they ended up doing more harm than good. In fact, there were four studies that found it too be no more beneficial than agressive chemotherapy.

I've looked around a bit for you, and I wanted to let you know that no one here, to my knowledge, is doing bone marrow transplantation for solid tumors. In fact, the've even stopped doing them for breast cancer. However, for a small group of specific people, this does work. Some breast cancer patients, and a small number of SCLC patients have been "cured" There is a researcher at the Roger Williams Cancer Center in Rhode Island that is running a study.

I'm wondering who your mom is going to speak to here in Boston. If she does end up coming, please let me know. The oncologists here are amazing, and I work with a good number of them.

If they are giving you no hope now, and the BMT is better than nothing than you should consider finding a doctor to agree to do it.

As always, one should consider quality of life, because if it would happen to fail ( not saying it definitely will), this procedure is not a nice one.

Please feel free to PM me anytime

Hope I helped


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My father had an autologous stem cell transplant for non hodgkins lymphoma on his 62nd birthday 9/4/01. He went through chemo - every day for a week in May, every day for a week in June, July they harvested his cells, 3 more days of chemo in August, then 9/4 he had the stem cell transplant. He never had radiation for this disease. They basically wipe you out to build you back up again. He did have infections after the chemo but got through the procedure as well as could be expected. That disease remains in remission. Unfortunately, that is why he could not tolerate high dose chemo for this lung cancer, his bone marrow was too weak, even with the chemo at lower doses.

My brother in law just had a stem cell transplant in December for non hodgkins lymphoma.

If I can be of help to you in any way just let me know.

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