Stem Cell Transplant

The only truly curative treatment for patients with severe or very severe aplastic anaemia is a successful stem cell transplant using normal stem cells from a donor. These replace the damaged marrow with healthy marrow. More importantly, they also replace the cells in the patient’s immune system which is responsible for the destruction of the bone marrow stem cells in the first place.

It is important to note that not all patients may be eligible for this type of treatment and it is more successful in children, young adults and generally patients under the age of 50 who are otherwise fit and well. This by no means excludes patients above this age group, as increasingly stem cell transplants are becoming more successful and are also being assessed even in patients in their 60s who are otherwise fit and well. The risk of complications after transplant increases with age. For that reason each patient is assessed on an individual basis based on their general health and fitness and all the risks and benefits discussed in great detail. When there is no matched stem cell donor available, other new approaches being explored are using cord blood stem cells, or stem cells from a family member who is half-matched.