Bone Marrow Transplant

A bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem-cell transplant, is used to replace cancerous cells killed by high-dose chemotherapy with healthy, blood-forming stem cells.

Our membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance means that you will receive the transplant at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, one of the world’s premier cancer treatment centers. But your pre-and post-procedure work can be done at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute medical center nearest your home.

Hartford HealthCare’s Bone Marrow Nurse Coordinator works with each patient to ensure all necessary appointments and tests are scheduled, and that you are always informed. The Nurse Coordinator is also your liaison between the Cancer Institute and your MSK treatment team.


Types of Bone Marrow Transplants

There are two kinds of bone marrow transplant: 

  • Autologous transplant: Your own blood-forming stem cells are collected before you receive chemotherapy. If you’re being treated for Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia or other lymphomas, you will likely have an autologous transplant.
  • Allogeneic transplant: This type of transplant uses someone else’s cells, either from a relative or from unrelated donors. If you have leukemia with a malignancy in the bone marrow, you'll likely have an allogeneic transplant. It’s more complicated than an autologous transplant, with slower recovery times and more medication requirements.

 

 

You stay in close touch, even while you are being treated in New York.

Everyone works as a team on your behalf. We even involve social workers of both centers prior to and during transplant. This means the team is well-prepared for any social and/or medical issues that may arise, for you or your caregivers.


Before the Transplant: DNA Testing Close to Home

Before a bone marrow transplant, several tests help find the best donor match. HLA (human leukocyte antigen) typing, for example, is a genetic test that identifies antigens on the white blood cells that can indicate the tissue compatibility of potential donors.

These tests are available at any of the Cancer Institute’s associated medical centers.

When potential donors live far away, we coordinate their testing, too. We send them a simple mouth swab kit by mail, so they can collect DNA from their cheek wall. Donors simply mail the kit to the Red Cross, where it’s tested for compatibility.

Medical Testing Before the Bone Marrow Transplant

Before you’re medically cleared for a bone marrow transplant, you’ll need several medical tests.

They can include:


Why You’ll Need to Visit a Dentist Before a Bone Marrow Transplant

Because an oral infection can cause bacteria in the blood (bacteremia) and make it harder for your immune system to fight infections, it’s important to have a dental exam before a bone marrow transplant.

The exam, including X-rays, should be performed as soon as you find out you’ll need chemotherapy, which can lower blood counts. Poor oral hygiene, gum disease and tooth decay or abscess can all contribute to bacteria in your blood.

Your dentist can address dental issues, or you can use Memorial Sloan Kettering’s dental clinic. You'll appreciate being able to stay at home while all of this care is locally coordinated.

We can extend your time at home by as much as three days by doing as much of your pre-transplant conditioning regimen as possible at your nearest Hartford HealthCare medical center.


What to Expect After a Bone Marrow Transplant

When you return from the transplant center, our Nurse Coordinator will continue to oversee all of your appointments and treatments.

You must have a caregiver with you at all times after your bone marrow transplant. Because you can return to Connecticut faster, there’s less strain on your family and other caregivers.

Contact a Nurse Navigator

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance

We offer the latest treatments through our ongoing membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Alliance, which gives you access to the latest standards of care and clinical trials.

The MSK Alliance

Support at the Cancer Institute

The Cancer Institute offers whatever you and your family need on your journey, whether it’s access to an oncology social worker, a nurse navigator to coordinate your care or the support of our Patient and Family Resource Center.


Meet our Bone Marrow Transplant Specialists

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Name Specialties Location
Dainiak Jr., Nicholas, MD, FACP 860.249.6291
  • Hematology / Oncology
  • Internal Medicine
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  • Hartford

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Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute