University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute | UCCI

Contact and Appointments: (513) 475-8500

Treatment and Services

Our treatments are given based on the most refined diagnostic tools in radiologic imaging and in molecular genetics profiling. Treatments are customized based on the individual patient’s comprehensive needs—medical, spiritual, financial and social—and in full partnership between the patient and the care team. It is important to discuss all of your treatment options, including possible side effects, with your physicians.

Our team has access to new techniques for blood and stem cell collection, safer transfusion methods and advanced scientific techniques. Our patients benefit from this because:

George L. Strike Bone Marrow Transplant Center

Bone marrow transplant—also known as a stem cell transplant—is often used to treat cancers that affect the blood and bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft, fatty tissue inside the bones. Stem cells are immature cells in the bone marrow that have the potential to become any type of cell in the body. The transplant procedure replaces damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells.

We are one of a few bone marrow transplantation programs that offer treatment in one outpatient hospital setting. This is designed for patient comfort and convenience, so patients can coordinate all appointments and tests in our state-of-the-art center.

We offer two forms of bone marrow transplant:

  • Allogeneic bone marrow transplant: A patient receives stem cells from a parent or sibling. An unrelated donor also may be used. Special blood tests are done to determine if a donor is a good match. Donors unrelated to the patient can be found through national bone marrow registries. The stem cell transplant is then given through a central venous catheter (tube)—similar to receiving a blood transfusion. Stem cells travel through the blood stream to the bone marrow to begin the regenerative process.
  • Autologous bone marrow transplant: Stem cells are removed from the patient before receiving high-dose chemotherapy or radiation treatment and stored in a freezer (cryopreservation). After high-dose chemotherapy or radiation treatments are completed, stems cells are put back into the patient’s body to add to normal blood cells. This is called a “rescue” transplant.

Patients are given chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both before the bone marrow transplant. The goal of this treatment is to destroy all remaining healthy bone marrow to encourage new growth of stem cells and allow new stem cells to grow in the bone marrow. Targeted medical therapies are also being investigated through clinical trials, offering patients who are not candidates for bone marrow transplant alternative options for remission.

Stem Cell Collection

Most people who need to undergo a bone marrow transplant have cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma or multiple myeloma. We offer stem cell collection through leukaphereisis, as well as traditional bone marrow transplant harvesting surgery.

With leukapheresis, no surgery is required. Donors are given a series of shots to encourage stem cells to move from the bone marrow into the bloodstream. Stem cells are collected from the blood of the donor through an IV line in the vein. The part of the white blood cells containing stem cells is separated mechanically before the rest of the blood is returned to the donor.

With bone marrow harvesting, the donor is put under a general anesthesia. Several puncture sites are made along the bone and stem cells are collected directly from the bone marrow (usually from the hip or breastbone). This is a relatively simple procedure but it still has the same risks as any procedure that uses a general anesthesia.

Other Treatment Options

Biological Therapy

Biological therapy assists the body as it fights off the cancer on its own by strengthening the body’s natural cancer-fighting processes. These therapies may include monoclonal antibodies, cytokines, therapeutic vaccines, the bacterium bacillus Calmette-Guérin, cancer-killing viruses, gene therapy and adoptive T-cell transfer.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy medicines use chemicals to destroy cancer cells or stop their growth. The goal is to either slow the disease or to bring it into remission (no more signs of disease). Chemotherapy is administered by mouth or injected into a vein. While chemotherapy kills cancer cells, it can also damage healthy cells.

Induction Therapy

Induction therapy is the first stage in many cancer treatments. It is a combination of chemotherapy, targeted therapy and steroids. The goal of this therapy is to reduce the number of cancer cells and make the cancer vulnerable to other treatments.

Radiation Therapy

In radiation therapy, a beam of high-energy rays is directed towards the cancer or over the entire body. The rays kill the cancer cells. The radiation used for cancer treatment may come from a machine outside the body, or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near tumor cells or injected into the bloodstream.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that targets a cancer’s specific genes, proteins or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. It is often used along with chemotherapy and other cancer treatments to block the growth and spread of cancer cells. A number of targeted therapies are being used to treat cancer and many new ones are being tested in clinical trials.