Adult Autologous Stem Cell Transplant Therapy at NYU Winthrop Hospital Center for Cancer Care
NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care uses a multidisciplinary team approach to provide comprehensive care for adults undergoing autologous transplantation. Our team of dedicated specialists includes medical hematologists/oncologists, transplant coordinators, nurse practitioners, oncology nurses, research coordinators, social workers, pharmacists and nutritionists. This collaborative group works together to develop an individualized treatment plan while helping patients and their families navigate all phases of the autologous stem cell transplant process. We also collaborate with our NYU Langone Health colleagues to coordinate care for patients who require different types of stem cell transplantation, such as allogeneic transplant.
The autologous stem cell transplantation procedure involves restoration of bone marrow function following high-doses of highly-effective chemotherapy using transfusions of previously collected and frozen stem cells from the same individual. Chemotherapy helps reduce malignant cancer cells but the toxicity can diminish the production of healthy cells, including stem cells that give rise of normal blood cells. These immature blood cells reside in bone marrow and are vital because they give rise to normal circulating blood cells, such as red blood cells that provide oxygen to organs, white blood cells that fight infection and platelets that help with blood clotting. With our experienced transplantation program, patients with lymphoma and multiple myeloma have a better chance of survival.
What to Expect
Autologous stem cell transplantation uses stem cells collected from your own bloodstream. Prior to collection, your doctor will administer medications that allow the stem cells to leave the bone marrow and circulate into the blood. Some blood is then removed from the body through a catheter, or hollow tube, connected to a machine that filters out the stem cells. The remaining parts of the blood are infused back into the body. Collection takes several hours per day, over three to five days. Collected stem cells are frozen, which is called cryopreservation, and stored in a specialized facility for later use. This process is typically done as an outpatient procedure in the comfort of our Infusion Center, and can be performed in patients with end stage kidney disease who are receiving hemodialysis.
After the stem cells are collected, high-dose chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy is given in the hospital. Radiation therapy is used in certain blood cancers to treat the whole body, and can help destroy cancer in places that chemotherapy may not easily reach. After this treatment, your own frozen stem cells are then thawed in our blood bank and transfused back into your body through an intravenous catheter. This procedure is done in the patient’s hospital room and does not require any surgery or sedation. The stem cells travel to the bone marrow and after two-four weeks begin to make healthy new blood cells.
Many factors influence the decision to use autologous stem cell transplantation including age, performance status, comorbidities and in the case of lymphoma, the subtype and response of the cancer to the initial therapy. In some forms of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, this transplant process can result in a lasting remission where signs and symptoms of the disease go away completely.
Following the transplant process, patients stay in our dedicated Oncology unit, Hoag 1, for two to four weeks. Each patient has their own private room and bathroom that is designed to maximize comfort and minimize risk for infections. Nurses trained to care for autologous stem cell transplant patients provide around the clock monitoring. Dieticians create a nutritionally balanced diet that accounts for potential side effects such as nausea, and Social Workers provide counseling and other emotional support. If blood transfusions or intravenous fluids are needed upon discharge, these services are available in our state-of-the-art Infusion Center. Visitors are allowed provided they do not have any active infections.
Our Infusion Center
The Infusion Center has 34 modern, comfortable infusion chairs located in an open and airy setting. Each infusion chair station is equipped with its own television and Wi-Fi is available to those who bring electronic devices. Our Infusion Center is located at 120 Mineola Boulevard, Suite 600 and is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. Parking is available for all patients in the attached garage behind 120 Mineola Boulevard. Valet parking is located and available on the third floor. Learn more about our Infusion Center.