Transplant process

To be considered for a stem cell transplant at Kingston Health Sciences Centre - Kingston General Hospital site, you must be referred by your hematologist. Once you are referred to the program, you will be booked for an appointment with the stem cell transplant team. The purpose of this first meeting is to determine if a stem cell transplant will be an appropriate and safe treatment option for you.

Before high-dose chemotherapy, your healthy stem cells are collected from you and stored (frozen). Stem cells are collected by a procedure called apheresis (a-fair-ee-sis). An apheresis machine separates your blood by spinning it at a high speed. The spinning separates components of your blood into layers based on their weight. The stem cell layer is then collected and the remaining blood returned to you. To read more about collecting your stem cells please see our stem cell patient guidebook.

High-dose chemotherapy will destroy the cancer cells and stem cells in your bone marrow. Afterwards, the stored stem cells are thawed and given back to you through a drip (infusion) into one of your veins. The stem cells go to your bone marrow and start to make blood cells again. This is called engraftment. Without stem cells, your blood counts could not get back to normal after such high doses of chemotherapy.

Your stem cell transplant doctor and nurse will explain why you are being recommended for a stem cell transplant. They will also tell you about the possible benefits and risks.

  • Click here for an overview (process map) of the steps you will go through during your stem cell transplant. The stem cell transplant journey includes many phases. The team does not move ahead with the next phase until it is safe to do so. 
  • Click here for more details about the stem cell transplant in the Stem Cell Transplant Guidebook for Patients. The purpose of this guidebook is to prepare patients and family members for collection and transplant.