Blood and marrow transplants in Nashville
TriStar Health's family of hospitals offer adult and children access to blood and marrow transplant (BMT) procedures in the Greater Nashville area. Blood and marrow transplant may also be referred to as bone marrow transplant, stem cell transplant or hematopoietic cell transplant. As a Sarah Cannon partner, our transplant and cellular therapy program has access to clinical trials, innovative therapies such as immune effector cell therapy (IECT) and a vast network of complex blood cancer experts. Patients with disease and damaged bone marrow can trust in receiving compassionate, high-quality care from our experienced transplant team.
For a free physician referral or more information, call TriStar MedLine® at (800) 242-5662.
Types of blood and marrow transplants
Our physicians perform both autologous and allogeneic blood and marrow transplants, including related and unrelated transplants. These transplants can be beneficial to patients who are receiving oncological treatments for blood cancer. They can also help patients with noncancerous diseases, such as severe anemia and immune deficiency disorders.
An autologous transplant uses a patient's own stem cells. The treatment process, which includes evaluation, pre-transplant workup, apheresis, blood and marrow transplant, and recovery, will extend over approximately four months. In preparation for the transplant, stem cells are collected from the patient, carefully frozen, and stored in a cellular therapy laboratory. Chemotherapy is administered in much higher doses than with standard chemotherapy regimens. These high doses of chemotherapy, called the conditioning regimen, target diseased cells and also affect normal blood cells. Therefore, without a transplant, a patient would not recover normal bone marrow function. In order to treat the disease and allow recovery of the bone marrow, pre-collected stem cells are re- infused after completing the conditioning regimen. The re-infusion is referred to as a "stem cell transplant" or sometimes called a “stem cell rescue”. Approximately 10-12 days following the transplant, the new stem cells will begin to grow in the bone marrow space and produce white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells.
Allogeneic transplants use stem cells from a donor. A donor can be a family member, an unrelated person, or from umbilical cord blood. It can take a minimum of one month or longer to identify a donor and begin the transplant process.
There are three types of allogeneic transplant conditioning regimens that include chemotherapy with or without total body irradiation (TBI): ablative, reduced intensity, and non-myeloablative (see below). These regimens have multiple purposes. First, they target diseased cells and destroy them. They also suppress the immune system to prevent rejection of the donor cells. The donor cells may also help to fight against diseased cells by creating a graft versus tumor effect (GVT). The graft cells (donor cells) react against diseased cells (tumor cells) to kill them. In addition to chemotherapy with or without total body irradiation (TBI), all allogeneic transplants use immunosuppressive medications. Following this type of transplant, patients may need medical care and medications to manage symptoms for an extended period of time.
Preparing for BMT
When considering or preparing for a blood and marrow transplant or BMT, a patient may have many questions. Our transplant teams are available to support patients throughout this process. Additionally, Be The Match®, a partner of the Sarah Cannon Transplant and Cellular Therapy Network, can help patients understand what to expect before, during and after a blood and marrow transplant.
Blood and marrow transplant physicians
Our physicians have decades of experience with blood and marrow transplants. Our experienced BMT team includes:
- Art therapists
- Case managers
- Child life specialists
- Clinical psychologists
- Fertility specialists
- Oncology clinical pharmacists
- Oncology dietitians
- Oncology physicians
- Oncology social workers
- Oncology surgeons
- Advanced Practice Providers
- BMT Coordinators
Many of our transplant team members continually research cell transplantation to improve the availability and safety of blood and marrow transplantation. To do this, we participate in groups, such as the Pediatric Blood and Transplant Consortium and Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium.
Long-term transplant follow-up care
We strive to navigate patients through recovery and ease any concerns they may have. One of the ways in which we do this is with our long-term follow-up program. This program supports patients who have had allogeneic blood and marrow transplants by offering life-long monitoring and care.
Because many transplant-related issues come up in the years following a patient's transplant, annual checkups at our clinic are essential. Our transplant physicians and long-term follow-up team work with referring oncologists to monitor for complications, such as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).
The long-term follow-up team includes a dedicated nurse practitioner and nurse coordinator. A psychologist, social worker and nutritionist are also available to support the needs of our patients through survivorship.