What is BMT and Cellular Therapy?

What is BMT?

BMT stands for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

This is also called a bone marrow transplant, a stem cell transplant, or a hematopoietic (blood-forming) cell transplants. 

Hematopoietic Stem Cell 

An immature cell that can develop into all types of blood cells, including white
blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Hematopoietic stem cells are found
in the peripheral blood and the bone marrow. 

Hematopoietic stem cells are created in the bone marrow, which is the soft material inside the bones. They develop into specific kinds of blood cells, depending on what your body needs.

Transplantation is a medical treatment recommended to treat certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma, and other blood and immune system diseases
that affect the bone marrow. A bone marrow transplant replaces damaged bone marrow or stem cells with healthy cells. This transplant can come from your body or from a donor. There are two different types of transplants, autologous and allogeneic.

What is Cellular Therapy?

Cell therapy is the transfer of intact, live cells into a patient to help lessen or cure a disease. Specifically, cellular immunotherapy uses parts of the immune system to seek out and attack specific cancer cells. The cells used may originate from the patient or from a donor. Most of the time, this treatment requires that doctors obtain cells from the bloodstream using apheresis.

Apheresis:  A process that withdraws blood from the body of a patient or donor and removes one or more blood components. The remaining components are returned to the body of the donor. 

Hematopoietic cell transplantation is a type of cellular therapy. Other types of cellular therapies include:

  • CAR T Therapy (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy) 

The kind of cell therapy that may help a patient is highly dependent on the disease they are suffering from. To learn more about cellular therapy and your specific circumstance, please check out our external resources page or speak with your doctor.

At ASTCT, we know learning that you or a loved one has cancer can be filled with many emotions — and the idea of a stem cell transplant may seem daunting. It is important to understand the transplant process and the terms you need to know through each step. Below is a list of terms you may hear as you consult with your healthcare team. Always ask your doctor for additional information.
This is just a starting point of your BMT and cellular therapy knowledge. Need more information? Check out our Patient Education Resource to learn more terms, diseases, treatments, and research as you discuss with the healthcare team. 

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