To Read Tami's Story from the Beginning

Just CLICK HERE. Her blog begins on March 12, 2009 with a post titled "Tami's Myelodysplasia Diagnosis." Then at the bottom of each post, click on the words "Newer Post" located just below the comments section on each page.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Treatment Options: Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant

This is what Tami's doctors have recommended as her best chance at a long term remission. They want to perform a stem cell transplant as soon as possible.

The following excerpt is from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Website. The information in its entirety can be read by CLICKING HERE:

Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplantation

Patients with severe or advanced MDS often are treated with a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (marrow or peripheral blood), currently the only type of treatment that has the potential of curing the disease. In some patient groups, the success rate (meaning how many patients are cured of their disease) is as high as 70 to 75 percent. Some of these patients have now been followed for 20 years or longer by their health care teams, with no sign that the disease has returned.

The chemotherapy given before a transplant and the transplant itself are intensive treatments designed to kill diseased stem cells in the marrow. The most intensive type of pre-transplant conditioning regimen is called myeloablative. This type of regimen completely destroys the patient’s own bone marrow and immune system. A newer approach, using less intensive regimens, is called nonmyeloablative or reduced-intensity conditioning. (You may also have heard this called mini-transplant.) This type of regimen destroys some of the bone marrow cells. The intent is to suppress the immune system enough so that the donor cells are not rejected and can help to kill any remaining abnormal cells in the marrow by an immune attack on those cells.

Donor cells are infused following the conditioning regimen. This is the actual transplant. The intent is that the donor stem cells will settle into the patient’s bone marrow, a process called engraftment. There they will begin producing healthy blood cells and immune cells. This new immune system will then recognize any remaining diseased cells and eliminate them.

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