Some children with primary progressive (also called resistant) or recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) cancer will be offered a stem cell transplant. Stem cells are found in the bone marrow, the bloodstream and the umbilical cord. They are basic cells that develop into different types of cells that have different jobs. For example, all our blood cells develop from blood stem cells.
A stem cell transplant is used to replace stem cells when stem cells or bone marrow are damaged. They can be damaged by disease or destroyed by high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
The following types of stem cell transplant may be used with childhood HL.
Autologous transplants are used to treat primary progressive or recurrent childhood HL. In this type of transplant, the stem cells are taken from the child’s own bone marrow or blood.
Before the stem cells are collected, the doctor will do bone marrow aspiration and biopsy to make sure that there are no cancer cells in the bone marrow.
Allogeneic transplants are being used as an experimental treatment for primary progressive or recurrent childhood HL. In this type of transplant, the stem cells are taken from one person (the donor) and are given to the child receiving the transplant (the recipient). The donor may be a relative or may be unrelated to the child.
The donor and recipient are matched through a process called human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing. Find out more about HLA typing.