A cancer diagnosis is scary. It can be even more concerning if you’ve been told you or a loved one will need a bone marrow transplant.

Did you know that it can be possible for a patient to donate their own bone marrow for the procedure?

We reached out to Preet M. Chaudary, MD, PhD of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at Keck Medicine of USC to get insights into the procedure.

Yes you can, but under certain conditions. This is called an autologous transplant. An autologous transplant is where stem cells are collected from a patient and given back to the same patient after they have received chemotherapy or chemo plus radiation therapy.

The major indications for autologous transplants are:

  • Multiple myeloma
  • Lymphoma

Autologous transplants are only recommended for certain types of disease. For example, if you have myeloma or lymphoma, then it is a possibility for you to donate your own marrow. However, if you have acute or chronic leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome, then it is recommended you be matched with a different donor.

Why USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center?

According to the data from bethematch.org, out of all bone marrow transplant facilities that have done at least ten bone marrow transplants, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has the highest one-year survival rates in California and the fifth highest in the country.

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of Keck Medicine of USC is able to achieve this because of a few key factors:

1. Team approach.

Bone marrow transplant is a team approach. Over the years, we have developed a strong multidisciplinary team of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, coordinators and social workers to make sure a patient’s bone marrow transplant goes as smooth as possible.

2. Academic medical center.

As an academic medical center means we are not only experts within bone marrow transplants, but across all other disciplines. Bone marrow transplant patients often encounter other complications, such as liver or lung problems. With USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center our experts are equipped to handle complications and will take the best possible care of you.

3. Center of Excellence.

To get the Center of Excellence designation, medical centers have to meet certain quality outcome measures like having a multidisciplinary treatment team, dedicating patient care units, sufficient patient volume and many others. Due to a combination of all the factors above, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is a Center of Excellence for a large number of providers and insurance companies, which speaks to the quality of our program.

To learn more about our bone marrow transplant programs, visit http://cancer.keckmedicine.org/patients/cancer-programs/blood-diseases-center/.