Stem cell transplant for non-Hodgkin lymphoma
If non-Hodgkin lymphoma returns (relapses) or does not respond to initial treatment (refractory disease), you may need a stem cell transplant.
This involves a course of high doses of chemotherapy to help destroy the cancer cells. This can also damage your normal bone marrow cells, including the stem cells, and you may need a stem cell transplant to help restore the bone marrow and rebuild your immune system.
Stem cells are unspecialised blood cells from which all blood cells develop. For non-Hodgkin lymphoma, stem cells are usually collected from the blood (peripheral blood stem cell transplant). Rarely, stem cells are collected from the bone marrow (bone marrow transplant) to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
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There are two main types of stem cell transplants.
Autologous transplant – This is when your stem cells are removed from your blood and later put back (reinfused) into your body. This is the most common type of transplant used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Allogeneic transplant – This is when the stem cells are collected from another person (a donor). This type of transplant is less commonly used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
A stem cell transplant is a demanding treatment and is not suitable for everyone, especially people with other health problems. The entire procedure, including recovery, can take months. A transplant is done in several steps.
For more information, talk to your transplant team or contact the Leukaemia Foundation on 1800 620 420.
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A/Prof Christina Brown, Haematologist, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Khaled Aly, Consumer; Kevin Bloom, Senior Social Worker, Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Royal North Shore Hospital; Katrina Debosz, CAR-T and Lymphoma Nurse Practitioner, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Dr Samuel Dickson, Radiation Oncologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Dr Wojt Janowski, Haematologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Karen Maddock, Blood Transplant and Cell Therapy Nurse Practitioner, Westmead Hospital; Sheridan Wellings, Consumer.
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