Glossary Term:


autologous stem cell transplant




a complex and sometimes risky treatment that may be used when cancer is advanced or has come back, or as the main treatment in some types of leukemia or lymphoma. Either bone marrow or stem cells harvested from the patient’s bloodstream is removed, cleaned, and stored. The patient is then given high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation to kill the cancer cells. This also destroys the remaining bone marrow, making the body unable to fight infection. The saved stem cells are then given by transfusion (transplanted) to restore the patient’s immune defenses. The best place to have a transplant is at a comprehensive cancer center or other facility that has the technical skill and experience to perform it safely. Compare to allogeneic stem cell transplant. See also bone marrow, hematopoietic stem cell transplant, immune system.