Peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplantation is a type of
rescue treatment of cancer is therapy that "rescues" the immune system and the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow from the damaging side effects (such as myelosuppressive side effects) of high-dose chemotherapy.
Peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplantation is a treatment that is being studied in clinical trials for breast cancer.
Sometimes breast cancer becomes resistant to treatment with radiation therapy or normal doses of chemotherapy drugs. High doses of chemotherapy can destroy the immune cells in the bone marrow. Therefore, PBSCs are taken from the patient before high-dose chemotherapy treatment.
In order to obtain PBSCs, a patientís blood is passed through a machine that removes the stem cells (immature cells from which all blood cells develop) from the blood and then returns the blood back to the patient. This procedure is called leukapheresis, and the process usually takes 3 or 4 hours to complete. The PBSCs obtained by leukopheresis are treated with chemotherapy drugs in the laboratory to kill any cancer cells that might be present. Next, the treated (ďpurgedĒ) PBSCs are frozen for later use.
Very high doses of chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy may then be used to treat the breast cancer. The frozen PBSCs are then thawed and injected back into the same patient to replace the marrow that was destroyed by the chemotherapy. This type of transplant is an autologous transplant. PBSC transplantation may be done alone or with an autologous bone marrow transplant.