Some of the trends and insights from the medical center's 30 years of bone marrow/stem cell transplant program include:
- There's been an increase in transplants for multiple myeloma. Transplants have become the standard of care for initial therapy, at relapse and as a way to control the disease as long as possible. There also has been an increase in the number of transplants for acute myelogenous leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome.
- Age is no longer a barrier to getting a transplant. In the past, transplants were limited to around age 60 for an autologous transplant and age 50 for an allogeneic transplant. Now transplants are done well into the 70s.
- Survival rates have increased due to the advance in knowledge and supportive care that helps patients get through the procedure. These include better antibiotics, new medications and other supportive care procedures, and better ways to prevent graft-versus-host disease. Because treatments have improved, fewer patients require transplantation. Only the sickest patients are undergoing transplantation.
- Reduced intensity (lower dose chemotherapy) transplants now are performed on some patients who receive allogeneic transplants, which reduces side effects in patients.
- The discovery of subtypes of lymphoma helped determine what treatment is needed.
- Large clinical trials found that transplants for breast cancer didn't benefit most patients.
- Patients now are treated more often in the outpatient setting than the inpatient setting.
- In the past, patients would stay in the hospital for 30 to 40 days. Now it's 15 to 20 days.