AML Patient and Expert Perspectives: What Is Transplant Like?

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Topics include: Living With Acute Myeloid Leukemia

What is a transplant like for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients? Expert Dr. Uma Borate, from Oregon Health & Science University, and AML patient advocate Don Armstrong discuss the transplant process for those living with AML. Watch as Don shares his personal experience with a transplant and side effects, and Dr. Borate gives recommendations on optimal timing and preparation for this type of treatment. Watch now to learn their expert perspectives.

This is a Patient Empowerment Network program in partnership with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society produced by Patient Power. We thank Celgene, Daiichi Sankyo, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Novartis for their support. These organizations have no editorial control.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

So I had to go through all those additional struggles on top of fighting the initial treatment from the leukemia.  So it was tough, and it was something that, it was—it's difficult to be prepared for that because you've already been through all the chemo for the leukemia. I was grateful that the stem cells did what they were supposed to do, which was graft in my body, but the side effects were difficult.  They made it quite a challenge.  

If you still have disease in your body and a lot of disease, and then you get all this chemo to prepare you for a transplant, the risk of rejection or the disease coming back is actually quite high because when you—when you destroy your own bone marrow including bone marrow that has disease in it and then you infuse somebody else's stem cells, you have a period of about two to three weeks when you have no immunity. And the stem cells are trying to grow, but if the patient still has leukemia in their body or had disease when you started this process, those disease cells just grow out of control, and they kill all the donor stem cells, and then it's just not a good outcome.  

So we really want the patient to have as less disease, preferably no disease in their body when they get a stem cell transplant.  And this is not something that is intuitive to a lot of patients because it's seen as a treatment for AML, which it is, but you really want to give it when the disease is really under really good control.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on August 21, 2019