Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: clinical use and perspectives
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the accepted therapy of choice for a variety of malignant and non-malignant diseases in children and adults. Initially developed as rescue therapy for a patient with cancer after high doses of chemotherapy and radiation as well as the correction of severe deficiencies in the hematopoietic system, it has evolved into an adoptive immune therapy for malignancies and autoimmune disorders. The procedure has helped to obtain key information about the bone marrow environment, the biology of hematopoietic stem cells and histocompatibility. The development of this new discipline has allowed numerous groups working around the world to cure patients of diseases previously considered lethal. Together with the ever growing list of volunteer donors and umbilical cord blood banks, this has resulted in life saving therapy for thousands of patients yearly. We present an overview of the procedure from its cradle to the most novel applications, as well as the results of the HSC transplant program developed at our institution since 1989.