Hematopoietic stem cells (often just called stem cells) are very early blood cells, which mature into full blood cells. They are found in bone marrow, the spongey material inside bones.1
A stem cell transplant is a treatment where bone marrow containing CML cells is replaced by stem cells, which develop into healthy bone marrow and blood cells. This creates a new immune system, and the transplanted cells can also help attack any remaining CML cells.1
The healthy stem cells are taken from a donor, whose cells are very similar to yours – often a close relative, although they may come from an unrelated donor from a register. This is known as an allogeneic stem cell transplant.1
For many people, TKIs can control CML very well for a long time and so treatment with TKIs have largely replaced stem cell transplants. And taking a TKI is usually less stressful on your body than having a transplant. There are different TKIs, so your doctor will usually try you on another one if the medicine you’ve been taking stops working. But if that doesn’t work either, they may consider a stem cell transplant.2
Cancer.net. What is a Stem Cell Transplant (Bone Marrow Transplant)?. Accessed May 2018.
CML Support. Stem Cell Transplantation. Accessed May 2018.
Cancer.net. Leukemia - Chronic Myeloid - CML: Treatment Options. Accessed May 2018.