Stem Cell Transplantations

​Stem cell transplantations are one of the main focus areas on Ward Taika. Annually, approximately 30 stem cell transplantations are performed on the ward. There are two main types of stem cell transplantations: allogeneic and autologous.

In allogeneic transplantations, the stem cells used are from a donor who may be a sibling (brother or sister), a registered donor, or one of the parents. A suitable donor can be matched for 9 out of every 10 patients. Allogeneic stem cell transplantations are used to treat patients with malignant hematologic disorders. Before stem cell transplantation, the patient is given very high doses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to the whole body (total body irradiation) to destroy the cancer cells. 

Autologous stem cell transplantations are used to treat patients with malignant solid tumors. Stem cells are collected from the patient's blood or bone marrow during the early stages of treatment and stored frozen. After a high dose of chemotherapy, the stored stem cells are returned to the patient to start the bone marrow producing blood cells again.

Stem cell transplantation with the associated therapies places the patient under great stress and weakens his or her immunity for a long time. Patients who have undergone stem cell transplantation will need to stay in an isolated single room for 4 to 6 weeks. The total stay on the ward is 1 to 3 months. Recovering from stem cell transplantation is gradual. In Finland, the majority of allogeneic stem cell transplantations in children and adolescents are performed at New Children's Hospital.