Researchers working with stem cells

Stem Cell Transplant Program

Stem cell transplants, also called bone marrow transplants, treat high-risk and life-threatening blood diseases. If you have leukemia, lymphoma or other blood cancer, a stem cell transplant could be the right option for you. 

A stem cell transplant does still require you to have chemotherapy and radiation. However, if successful, a stem cell transplant can offer a lot of hope.

    Stem Cell Transplant at UVA

    Our excellent outcomes and experience has been recognized by in several ways:

    • Federation for Accreditation of Cell Therapy (FACT), the highest level of accreditation possible
    • National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)/Be The Match registry approval 
    • Many insurance companies deem us a Center of Excellence

    Offering Treatment for Blood Cancer

    For patients with life-threatening blood diseases, a stem cell transplant replaces the diseased blood cells with healthy ones. View stem cell transcript.

    How Does a Stem Cell Transplant Work?

    Stem cells live in two places in your body: in your bone marrow and in certain parts of your blood. These stem cells create new blood cells.

    Blood cancer like leukemia happens when stem cells stop creating normal blood cells. A stem cell transplant replaces diseased cells with healthy ones.

    How Long Does a Stem Cell Transplant Take to Work?

    It may take several weeks for the donor stem cells in the bone marrow to begin to function.

    If successful, the new stem cells will produce healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

    Where Do You Get Healthy Stem Cells?

    We can transplant stem cells from:

    • Your own bone marrow or blood that was stored
    • A donor's bone marrow or blood

    What are the Types of Stem Cell Transplants?

    • Autologous stem cell transplant (uses cells from your own body, usually collected from the blood)
    • Allogeneic or donor stem cell transplants (in 2018, almost everyone has a donor)
    • Matched related donor, usually a brother or a sister
    • Matched unrelated donor (there are over 25 million volunteer donors in the Be The Match registry)
    • Umbilical cord blood (stem cells donated from a newborn baby that have been frozen)
    • Haploidentical transplant, from a family member who is not a perfect match

    How Do You Become a Stem Cell Donor?

    If you're the relative of someone in need of stem cells, fill out the Prospective Donor Intake Form. Other potential donors should contact Be The Match for information on joining the registry for stem cell donation.

    What to Expect

    The Treatment Process

    • Initial visit with a transplant physician
    • A transplant nurse coordinator
    • Receive information on donor testing (if applicable)
    • Meet with a social worker and financial coordinator during your first visit to discuss insurance approval assistance, housing needs, etc

    Next Steps

    Once a graft source (the source of the cells) is identified, you'll have another appointment at the clinic, where you will meet with a nurse coordinator, physician, social worker, pharmacist, financial coordinator and nutritionist. You'll learn about the clinic's team approach to care and the steps in the treatment process. We perform the transplant in the hospital in an inpatient setting.

    Choosing Your Care

    Today, the outlook for many patients with blood cancers and disorders is very good. While there are many treatment options available, you should consider the experience of the program and dedication of the care team when choosing where to seek care. It's your right as a patient to ask questions and seek a second opinion.

    Petri dish in a stem cell laboratory

    A Vital Option for Blood Disease

    Stem cell transplant effectively treats a number of cancers and blood disorders. Survival rates continue to increase. Let us help you determine if stem cell transplant could be the right answer for you.

    Visit the Stem Cell Transplant Clinic
    Our Team

    The program's team includes more than 20 doctors, nurses and technical staff with experience that includes:

    • You, the patient. You are the most important member of our team.
    • Your family and friends, who can serve as your caregivers.
    • Fifteen years of research and patient care in bone marrow, stem cell and umbilical cord transplant.
    • Work in umbilical cord blood stem cell biology that's helped create new treatments for patients with blood and heart diseases.
    • Laboratory research that allows our team to offer you the most modern treatments.

    Clinical & Research Expertise

    UVA Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute Clinical Cancer Center. Our transplant program has significant expertise:

    • Transplant physicians with extensive experience
    • Nurses who are trained and experienced in the care of transplant patients
    • Nurse coordinators, financial counselors, social workers, physical therapists, pharmacists, and dietitians dedicated to the care of transplant patients
    • Experienced labs that meet the high standards set by professional laboratory organizations
    • Subspecialty consultants in areas such as cardiology, infectious disease and critical care

    UVA Cancer Center is one of only two NMDP/Be The Match programs in Virginia.

    Clinical Research Trials

    Clinical research trials offer the latest in treatments, including some treatments not available at other centers. All of our clinical trials are approved by a separate committee called an Institutional Review Board (IRB) that ensures your safety. We are an approved member of several national research groups, including Bone Marrow Transplant-Clinical Trials Network (BMT-CTN), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR).

    Our clinical trials currently include a new therapy called Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T (CAR-T cell therapy). We also have trials for sickle cell anemia and graft vs host disease. We have several studies that look at ways to decrease relapse after transplant.

    Make A Gift

    Help Us Care for You and Your Loved Ones

    UVA's Stem Cell Transplant Program doesn't just care for patients using advanced treatments, but we’re always looking for better and more effective ways of detecting, preventing and treating disease. You can help us pioneer the treatments of tomorrow.

    Make an Appointment