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The Stem Cell Transplantation Programme

The protected environment unit

The Protected Environment Unit is an isolation unit for immunocompromised patients receiving dose intense chemotherapy or undergoing haematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

This isolation unit has dedicated nursing staff and is fully equipped with advanced life support systems.

The unit is equipped with high efficiency particulate filters providing filtered air (HEPA) to reduce the risk of infection. Each room has a laminar flow panel to ensure the cleanest environment for our patients.

This isolation unit has full intensive care trained staff and advanced equipment.

All rooms have monitoring equipment that are connected to a central nursing station to provide the most optimal care.




A stem cell transplant may help your body

Stem cell transplants can benefit patients with a variety of both cancerous (malignant) and noncancerous diseases.

A stem cell transplant is performed by the intravenous infusion of a donor’s healthy stem cells into your body following suitable preconditioning. Depending on the source of the stem cells it is also known as a bone marrow transplant or an umbilical cord blood transplant. If the origin is the patient’s own stem cell it is called autologous stem cell transplant, while allogenic stem cell transplant implies a tissue compatible (HLA matched) donor or placental cord blood. This procedure replaces the current dysfunctional bone marrow allowing the development of normal cells.

For instance, in aplastic anaemia, a noncancerous condition, the bone marrow is unable to make enough new blood cells. A stem cell transplant procedure replaces the non functioning cells with healthy stem cells and restores the blood to a normal state. One reason stem cell (bone marrow or blood) transplantation is used in cancer therapy is to make it possible for patients to receive very high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to overcome cancer resistance to standard dose therapies.

In the case of leukaemia, a stem cell transplant procedure replaces the diseased bone marrow. When healthy stem cells are transplanted, normal cell production can then resume.

In addition, immune factors in the transplanted cells may help destroy any cancer cells that remain in your bone marrow.

Our physicians use the latest clinical techniques and resources to harvest stem cells. These stem cells can be cryopreserved (frozen) and preserved for a long time. By manipulating stem cell grafts, they can also modify immunity.




Where can people get more information about potential donors and transplant centers?

The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR), a non-profit organization, that was created to improve the effectiveness of the search for non family donors. The SABMR maintains an international registry of volunteers willing to be donors of blood / bone marrow stem cells used for the purpose of transplantation. The SABMR web site contains a list of participating transplant centers.