Blood and Marrow Transplant

Expert blood and bone marrow transplant care

Drs. Anuj Mahindra and James Mason discuss medical information displayed on a screen, representing the advanced collaborative care at Scripps for blood and marrow transplant.

Drs. Anuj Mahindra and James Mason, Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Scripps Clinic

Expert blood and bone marrow transplant care

Scripps Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program in San Diego provides specialized care to adults with blood diseases, immunodeficiency disorders and certain cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Established in 1980, Scripps BMT Program was the first in San Diego and one of the first in the nation to administer life-saving stem cell transplantation.

Today, the program is well-recognized for its expertise and innovation, facilitating bone marrow and stem cell transplants for people across the country. We are the primary collection source for the National Marrow Donor Program in Southern California and the Department of Defense, as well as the largest collection site in the world.

Expert care for blood and bone marrow transplant

In addition to research activities related to blood and bone marrow transplants that expand potential treatment options, transplant patients also benefit from our team’s dedication to providing comprehensive and compassionate care. From treatment through recovery, the staff helps guide our patients through the transplant experience, offering support and expertise.

Our patient-centered program features:

  • Board-certified physicians who customize diagnostic and treatment plans to each person’s individual needs and medical history
  • On-site stem cell collection and processing, conducted by Scripps employees
  • Treatment in an ideal BMT environment that includes high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters
  • Special support, including transplant workshops for patients and their loved ones

Types of blood and marrow transplants

The blood and bone marrow transplant team performs stem cell transplants with the goal of rebuilding the recipient’s immune system and curing disease. Our team performs the following types of transplants:

  • Autologous transplants – Patients receive their own stem cells, which are removed before receiving high-dose chemotherapy or radiation treatment and stored for later use.
  • Allogeneic transplants – Patients receive stem cells from a donor. Special blood tests are done to determine if a donor is a good match for the recipient.

Donors and recipients are matched through national bone marrow registries, such as the National Marrow Donor Program.

Scripps BMT physicians choose the type of transplant based on several factors, including the type of disease, the stage of disease and the patient’s general condition.

Blood and marrow diseases treated by stem cell transplants

A bone marrow transplant — also called a blood stem cell transplant — is a procedure in which damaged or diseased bone marrow cells are replaced with healthy ones. It can be used to treat the following:

  • Certain cancers, such as leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma 
  • Illnesses where the bone marrow does not produce the right kind of or enough cells, such as: 
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)
  • Severe immunodeficiency syndromes
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Thalassemia

Stem cell sources and collection

Hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells are immature cells in the bone marrow that give rise to all of your blood cells. They can be harvested from any of the following sources for use in transplants:

  • Peripheral blood – Stem cells are collected from the blood stream.
  • Bone marrow – Stem cells are collected directly from the bone marrow.

Frequently asked questions about stem cell transplantation

If your doctor recommends a stem cell transplant, also known as a blood or bone marrow transplant, you may have many questions about the procedure and what to expect. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about stem cell transplantation. Always feel free to ask your physician or care team for more information and guidance.

CAR T-cell therapy

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a newer type of immunotherapy. Immunotherapy makes changes to a person’s immune system that enables it to recognize and attack harmful cells. T cells help the immune system kill diseased cells, but they normally don’t recognize cancer cells as being dangerous.

CAR T-cell therapy changes T cells so that they are more effective at recognizing and attacking cancer cells. CAR T-cell therapy has been FDA-approved to treat several types of cancer. It has a high success rate and has even eliminated cancer in some patients, but it does not work for everyone. 

Blood and Marrow Transplant Program locations

Scripps Health’s Blood and Marrow Transplant Program is offered at the following locations:

Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo

15004 Innovation Drive

San Diego, CA 92128 

Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines

10666 North Torrey Pines Road

La Jolla, CA 92037

Inpatient services are provided at Scripps Green Hospital, which shares a campus with Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines. The hospital and clinic are located about 15 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Patient support and resources

Scripps offers a wide range of supportive services to meet the specialized needs of transplant patients and their loved ones, including support groups and educational classes. Learn more about the support and resources you have access to at Scripps. Our inspirational transplant patient success stories are another great resource to learn more about the supportive, life-affirming aspects of Scripps transplant services and care.