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Blood and Marrow Transplant

The UC San Diego Health and Sharp HealthCare joint blood and marrow transplantation program is the largest blood and marrow transplant (BMT) program in San Diego and one of the largest in California. 

Our interdisciplinary team of physicians offer the most advanced diagnostics and treatment options. Together with our advanced practitioners, nurses, social workers and support staff, we can manage every aspect of a patient's care, including education and support resources for caregivers and their families, and follow-up care.

Types of Treatment

We offer standard-of-care therapies, as well as the most promising investigational chemotherapy agents, immunologic manipulations, and novel stem cell transplantation methods, including:

  • Allogeneic transplants, which use stem cells from a related donor, unrelated matched donor or half-matched related (haploidentical) donor
  • Cord blood transplants, which use stem cells from the umbilical cord blood or placenta of healthy newborns. Cord blood transplants are also a type of allogeneic transplant.
  • Reduced-intensity allogeneic transplants, which administer a lower dose of chemotherapy or radiation to safely treat older and more fragile patients
  • Autologous transplants, which uses the patient’s own stem cells
  • Induction and salvage chemotherapies for newly diagnosed, relapsed and refractory hematologic malignancies
  • Donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI), which use the immune system to try to fight cancer that recurs after transplantation

As part of our dedication to patient care, we work closely with Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, to identify matched unrelated donors for our patients.

In addition, as part of a research-intensive academic medical center, patients may have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials, providing potentially early access to promising new therapies, such as CAR T-cell immunotherapy, which uses a person's own genetically engineered white blood cells to recognize and target cancer cells. Search open clinical trials

Inpatient and Outpatient Services

BMT is often preceded by high-dose chemotherapy, which destroys both your cancerous and healthy cells. Most patients will need to be in the hospital for three to four weeks after their transplant to avoid infection.

The 10-story Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla, opening in late 2016, has an entire floor dedicated to the care, recovery and comfort of BMT patients. Designed with input from BMT patients and their families, all rooms within this specialty care hospital are private, with space for family members and a restaurant-style meal service. The BMT unit also has a full-floor, aseptic air-filtration system that allows patients freedom to leave their room, walk around, visit with family and friends, enjoy views of the terraced gardens and even work out in a special gym.

In certain situations, there are opportunities for some (or even all) of the transplant process to be performed on an outpatient basis. Outpatient visits are at Moores Cancer Center in La Jolla.

Volume and Outcomes

Studies have shown that the best patient outcomes occur in centers that perform a high volume of specific medical procedures, such as BMT. 

Since 1989, UC San Diego Health has performed more than 2,600 stem cell transplants. In 2000, UC San Diego Health and Sharp HealthCare partnered to create a joint blood and marrow transplantation program that combines resources, collaborates on research and expands specialized BMT care in the San Diego region

Data from our transplants are reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and the National Marrow Donor Program to track outcomes and compile other statistics that may improve survival, treatment, and quality life for transplant patients.

Conditions Treated

  • Acute and chronic leukemia
  • Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas
  • Inherited and acquired bone marrow failure syndromes
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Myelofibrosis
  • Testicular cancer

Accreditation and Credentials

Our joint BMT program was one of 16 charter members of the prestigious Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network of the National Institutes of Health, the premier BMT clinical trials group in the world. The majority of BMT procedures performed in the U.S. are by centers who are part of this network.

Our program is accredited by, affiliated with, or a member of the following organizations:

In addition, we are the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in San Diego County.

See more information about blood and marrow transplants through our program:

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