The Institute of Personalized Molecular Medicine (IPMM) of premier health institution The Medical City (TMC) offers bone marrow and stem cell transplantation which have evolved into the standard of care for many people with hematologic cancers and other blood disorders.
For patients who have certain malignancies of the blood and bone marrow such as leukemias and lymphomas, or autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus and erythematosus, or other blood-related disorders including aplastic anemia and thalassemia major, bone marrow transplant has been part of the standard treatment regimen, backed by large and long-term studies on efficacy.
Although the buzz term of “stem cells” has only recently come to the limelight, the science and technology behind its utility to treat certain diseases has been present in some form or another since the late 1930s.
Back in those early days, physicians and scientists already saw the potential of these cells for illnesses involving the bone marrow, even garnering the Nobel Prize . The process, known as a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation or HSCT, has remained mostly the same since then, but with some very important technological and clinical improvements. It is also more commonly called a bone marrow transplant.
In the past, patients who needed a stem cell transplant received a “bone marrow transplant” because the stem cells were collected from the bone marrow. Today, stem cells may also be collected from the blood, instead of the bone marrow. For this reason, they are now called stem cell transplants.
The bone marrow is a part of your bones that makes blood cells. Marrow is the soft, spongy tissue inside the bones. It contains cells called “hematopoietic” stem cells which can turn into several other types of cells. They can turn into more bone marrow cells or they can turn into any type of blood cell.
Certain cancers and other diseases keep hematopoietic stem cells from developing normally. If they are not normal, neither are the blood cells that they make. A stem cell transplant gives you new stem cells and these new stem cells can make new, healthy blood cells.
There are two types of stem cell transplant – autologous and allogeneic. For an autologous stem cell transplant, the patient’s own stem cells are removed from his or her bone marrow or peripheral blood before the transplant. The cells are stored until they are needed for the transplant. Then for example, a patient with myeloma gets treated with high-dose chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells. When this is complete, the stored stem cells are infused back into the patient’s blood. This type of transplant is a standard treatment for patients with multiple myeloma.
In an allogeneic stem cell transplant, the patient gets blood-forming stem cells from another person – the donor. The best treatment results occur when the donor’s cells are closely matched to the patient’s cell type and the donor is closely related to the patient, such as a brother or sister. Allogeneic transplant is usually done for acute leukemias and other hematologic malignancies
Both autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplant can be performed at the IPMM of The Medical City.
” At The Medical City IPMM, each patient’s treatment can be personalized and tailored uniquely, ensuring safety and efficacy because of the presence of cutting-edge technology coupled with the expertise of internationally-trained specialists in the fields of Hematology and Oncology, Transplantation, and Infectious Diseases,” says Dr. Alma R. Calavera, hematologist and transplant specialist.
The IPMM has a team of specialists dedicated to bone marrow and stem cell transplantation. The team is composed of hematologists, transplant specialists, nurses with special training and experience in bone marrow and stem cell transplant, critical care, hematology and oncology, nutritionists, pharmacists, and other allied healthcare staff.
The institute also has a dedicated nursing unit on the 12th floor with six positive pressure for patients with compromised immune systems. These specially designed rooms ensure proper air flow to protect both patient and healthcare worker.
“Bone marrow and stem cell transplant are being done here in the Philippines, at The Medical City, thus, there’s no more need to go abroad for this procedure,” she adds.
The IPMM is a unit of The Medical City focused on the ethical delivery of personalized molecular medicine treatments. The backbone of the IPMM is Regenerative Medicine, a revolutionary field involving the engineering of cells and other biomaterials with the goals of restoring organ function lost or impaired due to disease or injury, and improving the quality of life.
IPMM is one of the very few accredited Human Stem Cell and Cell-based Therapy Programs in the country, with accreditation granted by the Department of Health in November 2014.
For appointments and inquiries, please call TMC-IPMM at (632) 988 1000 / (632) 988 7000 loc 6307 / 6551, or visit www.themedicalcity.com.