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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

How It's Done

A plastic tube called a catheter will be placed into a large vein in your chest with one end sticking through the skin. This will be used to take blood samples and to insert the new cells. Next, you will have the main chemotherapy and radiation as your doctor prescribed. These treatments are designed to treat the underlying condition, but they also cause destruction of the bone marrow cells.

Next, your transplant cells (which have not been treated with the chemotherapy or radiation) will be put into your bloodstream through the catheter in your chest. Transplant cells will travel through your blood and settle into the spaces where your original cells were. The new cells will multiply. Until they reach a certain level, your body will not be able to fight germs and infections very well, so you will have to stay in the hospital in a special room where you will be protected from germs. This can take several weeks.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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