Blood and Marrow Transplantation

As many as 70 percent of all patients in need of a stem cell transplant do not have an exact-match donor within their families and must rely on unrelated donors who volunteer to participate in national blood and marrow registries. Even so, many patients do not have an exact match among unrelated adult donors. To broaden transplant opportunities for those who do not have exact donor matches, UF Health is the first in the state to adopt the use of cord-blood transplantations and haploidentical – or “half-match” – transplantations from mismatched family members. Because of this, there are now viable donor options for nearly all patients in need of transplant. 

Additionally, UF Health is also the first in Florida to offer “mini” transplantations. Such non-myeloablative transplantations use less intensive conditioning regimens and are an alternative for thousands of cancer patients either too old or too ill to withstand transplant approaches that employ high doses of chemo or radiation therapy. Mini-transplantations are less costly and result in shorter hospital stays for patients. 

What to Expect

A pre-transplant evaluation with all tests done at UF Health Shands usually takes three to five days to complete. You will undergo pre-BMT evaluation and counseling before you are admitted to the UF Health Blood and Marrow Transplantation unit. Your BMT evaluation typically consists of the following:

  • Medical evaluation
  • Dental evaluation
  • Radiation therapy consultation (if necessary)
  • BMT education class
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Psychosocial evaluation (meeting with BMT social worker)
  • Evaluation by a physician who will place your central venous catheter (CVL)
  • Meeting with a protocol nurse to review consents and optional research protocols
  • Review of the test results with your BMT physician and signing of informed consent

Additional facts about the UF Health Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program:

  • Accredited hematopoietic stem cell transplantation center, with more than 2,700 transplantations
  • Vast experience in stem cell collections, processing and cryopreservation
  • Core center for two National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute clinical trials networks: The Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network, and the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network
  • National Marrow Donor Program collection and transplantation center
  • Member of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research
  • National Institutes for Health-funded programs in stem cell biology, regenerative medicine research, and fungal diagnostics
  • Cell-based vaccines after transplant for pediatric brain tumors