MDS and its treatment causes a drop in the number of healthy blood cells in the marrow. A peripheral stem cell transplant (PBSCT) uses healthy stem (unformed) cells from the blood of a donor. The stem cells travel to bone marrow sites all over the body. Slowly, they return the numbers of blood cells to a normal range. If PBSCT works, the new cancer free cells should make healthy new ones.
Types of PBSCT:
Tissue from the marrow is removed from the recipient. The donated marrow is given through a vein in the chest. Then, the recipient is kept away from others to lower the chance of infection while the blood cells are restored. It can take up to a month for this to happen.
Stem cells from your own body are generally not used to treat MDS. This is because there are damaged cells in the remaining pool of healthy stem cells.
A PBSCT is not for everyone. Success rates vary depending on age, gender, and how aggressive MDS is. Side effects include rejection of the new cells and return of MDS. With rejection, the new blood cells are thought of as foreign and the body attacks them.
A soft, thin, flexible tube is placed in a large vein in the body. Common sites are under the collarbone or in the chest. These tubes eliminate the need for repeated needlesticks. The tube links to a different tube that is fixed to the outside of the body. The tube can be used to give medicine or take blood samples.
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Treating myelodysplastic syndromes. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/myelodysplastic-syndrome/treating.html. Accessed March 15, 2019.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/myeloproliferative/patient/myelodysplastic-treatment-pdq#section/_49. Updated June 14, 2018. Accessed March 15, 2019.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP Last Updated: 3/15/2019