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Information on Transplants from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

From: Bruce bdl@twcny.rr.com (Webmaster)

Date: 11/19/2003

Time: 7:58:13 AM

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Work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle looked at the clinical application of stem cell transplants. Stem cell transplants are employed for patients with a variety of cancers, but they are not easy for patients to tolerate and can cause many adverse effects. Patients typically undergo total body irradiation and high dose chemotherapy to eradicate their cancers before they receive the stem cell transplants. This is toxic and especially hard for older patients to tolerate. The Seattle researchers used lower doses of radiation and chemotherapy and then gave the patients the stem cell transplants. Included in the study were 45 patients with an average age of 56 who were suffering from such diseases as acute and chronic leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They were followed for over a year. Survival for those with chronic leukemia was about 66%. The success rate led the researchers to conclude that the high dose chemotherapy and radiation might not be the cause of the eradication of the cancer, but that in fact the new population of stem cells might also be contributing to the elimination of the remaining cancer cells. These more tolerable stem cell treatments are called mini-transplantations, and these initial results are promising enough that research will continue in this area.

Updated and reviewed: April 24, 2003

Last changed: September 24, 2006