Cancer - Oncology

Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation Program

The Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Mount Sinai Health System has been at the forefront of the field in treating hematological malignancies with bone marrow transplants (BMT). Hematologic malignancies are cancers that affect a patient’s blood or lymph system. BMT can successfully treat a variety of cancers and other conditions that are resistant to other forms of care. BMT is a standard option for the treatment of certain types of diseases. Additionally, the program’s doctors and researchers continue to research and conduct clinical trials to find ways to improve the quality of life for cancer patients.

Your doctor will determine if a bone marrow transplant will benefit you, and if so, which type of BMT will be most effective in treating your condition.

Donor Compatibility

Our Mount Sinai bone marrow transplant specialists perform different types of BMT, and the right one depends on patient condition and availability of a compatible donor. The cells from a donor should match the recipient's cells. We evaluate donor-patient compatibility through a histocompatibility antigen test. HLA typing uses a blood test to analyze human lymphocyte antigens (HLA) found on the surface of white blood cells.

Read about becoming a bone marrow donor.

Types of Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT)

Bone marrow produces stem cells—unspecialized cells from the compatible donor—that renew by dividing into more cells that are specialized. Stem cells are part of the immune system that helps to protect the body from viruses and bacteria. When transplanted into patients, the donor cells should repair and replace the damaged tissues of patients.

We use three sources to obtain stem cells for BMTs—the patient, another adult donor, or an umbilical cord:

Autologous transplant: An autologous transplant uses the patient's own stem cells. This is possible in the case of certain diseases that do not affect the patient’s bone marrow so the doctor can use the patient’s healthy cells for the transplant.

Allogeneic transplant: An allogeneic transplant uses stem cells collected from another adult. The donor may be a sibling of the patient or an unrelated person identified through a donor registry.

Cord transplant: Another source of stem cells is the umbilical cord blood of a related or unrelated birth of a child.

Learn more about bone marrow transplants