Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) Transplantation Institute has extensive experience in bone marrow / stem cell transplants (blood and marrow). Our team is committed to improving the outlook for pediatric patients with blood diseases and cancers. While transplantation is often difficult for children and their families, LLUMC provides compassionate whole-person care and support through every stage.
Both you and your child will meet with our dedicated Bone Marrow / Stem Cell (Blood and Marrow) Transplant Team. They will assess your child’s condition and needs. Laboratory work and diagnostic tests will establish baseline data. These pre-transplant tests may include CT scan, MRI scan, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, spinal tap, blood tests, echocardiogram (EKG) and pulmonary function tests.
After carefully reviewing your child’s condition, the transplant team will assess which type of procedure is best. Types of transplants include:
- Autologous – Using the patient’s own cells either from the bloodstream or bone marrow
- Allogeneic – Using suitably matched cells from a family member, an unrelated donor or cord blood
- Syngeneic – Using cells from the patient’s identical twin
Stem Cell Procurement
For Autologous Transplants:
If the Bone Marrow / Stem Cell Transplant Team determines that an autologous transplant is the best course of action, our stem cell team will meet with you to discuss the process.
For Allogeneic Transplants:
Hematopoetic/bone marrow/stem cell donors are identified through human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing. HLA is a marker the body’s immune system uses to recognize cells which belong and those which are foreign to your body. If your child doesn’t have a related donor match, then the Transplantation Institute will find an unrelated donor through the National Marrow Donor Registry (NMDR). Once a suitably matched donor is found, the stem cells are delivered to LLUMC on the day of your child’s transplant.
To prepare your child‘s bone marrow, the Bone Marrow / Stem Cell Transplant Team will administer high-doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy prior to hematopoietic stem cell infusion. This destroys existing diseased cells to make room in the marrow for new, healthy cells to grow. Conditioning therapy eliminates the body’s ability to reject donor cells, should your child receive foreign cells from another person (allogeneic transplant).
Your child’s transplant team will infuse healthy donor hematopoietic stem cells into the patient via the child’s central venous line with an intravenous (IV) tube. The procedure is typically simple, quick and painless.
Engraftment typically occurs between 10 and 28 days after the marrow has been infused. It occurs when transplanted cells begin to grow and reproduce healthy blood cells. For several weeks after transplant, children are hospitalized and monitored closely for side effects or complications while waiting for engraftment.
Discharge & Recovery
Your child will stay in the hospital during the recovery period. Prior to discharge, he or she must be medically stable, have stem cell engraftment and be able to take all necessary oral medications.
The recovery period following a transplant is critical since your child is still at risk for complications. In addition to regular hospital visits, you can support your child by maintaining strict guidelines related to eating, outside activities and exposure to others.
With the accessibility of our facilities and ease of scheduling an appointment, LLUMC&CH’s compassionate staff is dedicated to providing you with whole-person care. Our commitment to the well-being of your mind, body and spirit begins with your request for an appointment. Make an appointment by calling us toll-free at 1-800-548-3790 or locally at 909-558-3636, by filling out our online request form or by visiting our facilities today.