Chemotherapy (chemo) can harm normal cells as well as cancer cells. A stem cell transplant (SCT) might be used when very high doses of chemo are needed for effective treatment. Although the drugs destroy the patient's bone marrow, transplanted stem cells can restore the blood-producing bone marrow stem cells.
Stem cells for transplantation are collected from the bloodstream in a process called apheresis or they can come from the bone marrow. These blood-forming stem cells can come from either the patient before treatment with high-dose chemo or from a donor whose tissue type closely matches that of the patient. When treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), stem cells from a donor are most often used.
To learn more about stem cell transplants, see Stem Cell Transplant (Peripheral Blood, Bone Marrow, and Cord Blood Transplants).
Last Revised: 02/23/2016