Bone marrow and stem cell transplant program in San Antonio

Methodist Healthcare is proud to offer the only adult blood cancer and stem cell transplant program and the first pediatric blood and marrow stem cell transplant program in San Antonio. As a member of the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Network, we have access to a number of quality, infrastructure, training and research resources.

To learn more about the bone marrow and stem cell transplant program, call the Adult Blood Cancer and Stem Cell Transplant Clinic at (210) 575-7800 or the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Clinic at 210-575-2222.

What is a bone marrow transplant?

A bone marrow transplant also called a stem cell transplant, is a procedure that takes unhealthy, blood-forming marrow cells and replaces them with healthy ones. A bone marrow transplant may be performed using stem cells from the patient's body or from a donor.

Bone marrow transplant risks may include graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), organ damage, infection and infertility. Bone marrow transplant recovery involves careful monitoring of your condition to check for infection or any other possible complications.

Blood cancer treatment

We provide a full spectrum of transplant services, including the use of transplants as a form of blood cancer treatment. Blood or marrow stem cell transplants (BMTs) are performed for individuals with diseased bone marrow or for patients with cancer who are about to undergo high doses of cancer therapy that will damage their bone marrow. Several types of blood cancer are commonly treated with a blood or marrow stem cell transplant, including lymphoma, myeloma and leukemias.

Methodist Healthcare provides a full spectrum of cancer services, so patients with blood cancer can receive comprehensive care close to home.

Pediatric Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Program

As a partner of Methodist Children's Hospital, the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Clinic, located on the campus of Methodist Hospital, offers the only pediatric program of its kind in South Texas. Additionally, it is one of the busiest locations for pediatric blood and marrow stem cell transplants in the U.S.

Our program is one of the most experienced in the nation and offers a long-term approach to care for pediatric transplant survivors. We are a member of the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Research Network and accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy.

Adult Blood Cancer and Stem Cell Transplant Program

Located within the John E. Hornbeak Building on the campus of Methodist Hospital, the Adult Blood Cancer and Stem Cell Transplant Clinic is one of the most preferred in the nation and performs more than 200 blood or marrow stem cell transplants every year.

To refer a patient to the Adult Blood Cancer and Stem Cell Transplant Clinic, please call (210) 575-7800.

Our affiliated clinics offer full-service care, which includes:

  • Bone marrow biopsies
  • Catheter placements
  • Chemotherapy infusions
  • Transfusions
  • Stem cell transplant evaluations and infusions

Conditions that benefit from bone marrow transplant

Bone marrow and stem cell transplants are often performed as a treatment for various diseases and conditions, including:

  • Amyloidosis—An abnormal protein, called amyloid, produced in the bone marrow builds up in the organs.
  • Aplastic anemia—The body stops producing an adequate amount of new blood cells.
  • Hemoglobinopathies—A general term for blood conditions that affect the red blood cells.
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma—A cancer of the lymphatic system that impairs the body's capacity for fighting infection.
  • Leukemia (acute and chronic)—A type of blood cancer affecting the body's tissue and bone marrow that inhibits its ability to fight off infection.
  • Multiple myeloma—A cancer that forms in a type of white blood cells, called plasma cells, that is indicated by a multiplying of cancerous plasma cells.
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome—A syndrome that results in immature, unhealthy blood cells within the bone marrow.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—A cancer of the lymphatic system indicated by tumors within a type of white blood cells, called lymphocytes.
  • Testicular cancerA cancer of the testicles, the male sex organs located inside the scrotum.

Types of bone marrow transplants

Your transplant physician will discuss with you which type of transplant will provide the best clinical outcome. We routinely perform the following types of transplants:

  • Autologous stem cell transplant—Stem cells are collected, stored and re-infused back to the same patient after high-dose chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments.
  • Tandem autologous transplant—Also known as a double autologous transplant, this procedure requires the patient to undergo two planned autologous stem cell transplants within six months. Stem cells are collected once before the initial transplant and half are used for each procedure. The second transplant is performed after recovery from the first procedure.
  • Allogeneic stem cell transplant—Stem cells are taken from one person and given to another. The patient receives stem cells from a matched or partially matched family member, an unrelated donor or umbilical cord blood.
  • Umbilical cord blood transplant—This method uses stem cells, which have been collected from a clamped, separated umbilical cord following delivery. The stem cells are then processed and frozen until transplantation.

Blood stem cell transplant candidacy

A blood or marrow stem cell transplant requires a thorough consultation with your physician and a referral. Once patients are referred, the transplant team schedules the patient’s first visit to the clinic. During that time, the patient and his or her family will meet their transplant physician and will spend a significant amount of time with other transplant professionals who will further educate the patient regarding the option of transplantation.

If the patient, family and transplant team determine that a transplant is the best option, the patient will undergo testing to complete the evaluation process. The type of transplant most appropriate will determine how quickly the procedure can be performed.

Private insurance, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, may provide coverage for blood or marrow transplants. Some costs may not be fully reimbursed. Financial coordinators and social workers will work with the patient to ensure he or she understands coverage benefits and help minimize out-of-pocket expenses by accessing various community resources.

Stem cell and bone marrow transplant recovery

Recipients of bone marrow stem cell transplants are closely followed in the clinic on a daily basis after their operation to ensure there are no infections or rejections. The patient may still feel too weak to fully engage in normal activities for several weeks, but they are encouraged to continue participating in daily activities, as tolerated, to increase strength and energy.

Allogeneic transplant recipients are at risk for developing graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). With this condition, the new bone marrow stem cells begin fighting against, or "rejecting," the patient's tissues. To minimize the risk of GVHD, patients are prescribed immunosuppressive or "anti-rejection" medications.

The chances of infection and rejection are highest during the first month after stem cell transplant when the medications taken to suppress the immune system are at their peak effectiveness. Patients may be required to wear a mask to limit the risk of infection that could lead to rejection.

Transplant patients are required to have routine follow-up visits. The frequency of visits will be discussed at the time of transplant. You will be informed when you are able to return to your oncologist for continued care.

All resources available to the patient and family pre-transplant, including but not limited to the oncology support group, social worker, dietitian, financial coordinator and hospital chaplain are also available on an unlimited basis post-transplant.

Frequently asked questions

As you’re considering or preparing for a blood or marrow transplant, you may have a lot of questions. These videos produced and provided by Be The Match®, a Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Network partner, can help you understand what to expect before, during and after a blood or marrow transplant.

Remember, each person has their own experience with a transplant, and no two patients follow the exact same path. Your path will depend on many factors, including the type of transplant, your overall health and your disease status. Your transplant team will support you throughout the entire process.

Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Videos

About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

As part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally trusted care with the support of a globally-recognized network.

askSARAH helpline

Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7, and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (210) 507-0941 or chat online at askSARAHnow.com.

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