The practice of stem cell transplantation can be autologous (where the patient is their own donor) or allogeneic (where someone else is the donor – either a sibling or a registry, unrelated donor). Stem cell transplants are mostly performed for malignant blood conditions (e.g. Leukemia, Myeloma, Lymphoma etc) or for bone marrow failure syndromes. The transplant of marrow stem cells allows higher (myeloablative) doses of chemotherapy to be given and in some transplants (from an allogeneic donor) allows a "clean" marrow and new immune system to replace the diseased marrow.
The practice of transplantation is technically complex and requires state of the art equipment, highly trained staff, attention to detail and quality control. The process involves much interaction between the transplant team and the patient and their family. In addition a lot of time is spent coordinating the transplant between the patient their donor, the registry, the harvesting, cryo-preservation (freezing), chemotherapy or radiation department and working with the medical aid.
The Albert Alberts transplant unit has a ward dedicated to transplantation and haematological disease management, as well as our own harvesting equipment and staff, our own laboratory to assess the quality of the harvest, our own state of the art cryopreservation and storage facility and management team to co-ordinate the process. We are in the process of exploring options to manage our own Tissue Typing, immunology assessments and Infectious Disease testing.
Our vision is to provide a state-of-the-art, comprehensive stem cell transplant service which will be able to do mismatched, haplo-identical and cord blood transplants in a comparable environment to the best units in the world. To this end we have designed and are currently building a new unit with high efficiency positive pressure air conditioning and other modern infection control measures in place.