BRIDGEWATER, N.J. and HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., Oct. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanofi Oncology and BMT InfoNet are joining forces to inform patients and the public about the importance of stem cell transplants in the treatment of blood cancers.
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Approximately every four minutes, one person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer or blood disorder such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Stem cell transplantation – which infuses healthy stem cells into the bloodstream of a patient – is commonly used to treat various forms of blood cancers and disorders and is one of the most important medical advances in the last 50 years.
It is important for people with various forms of blood cancer to be aware of the two major types of stem cell transplants – autologous and allogeneic – and to know which type of transplant may be right for them.
"When people hear the words 'stem cell transplant,' there is a tendency to think about organizing local bone marrow drives to find a suitable donor if a relative is not a match. However, not everyone who could benefit from a stem cell transplant needs a donor," said Parameswaran Hari, MD, MS, Section Head and Director, Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, and Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. "In fact, the majority of stem cell transplants performed in the U.S. are done in people using their own stem cells. We want to arm potential recipients with the facts so they can have an informed discussion with their physician should the need for a transplant arise."
While both types of stem cell transplants involve replacing diseased or damaged stem cells in the patient with healthy ones, the chosen type of transplant depends on the type of blood cancer, the health of the patient's own marrow, extent of bone marrow injury caused by prior chemotherapy treatments, and the overall health of the patient.
In an autologous transplant, the patient receives his or her own stem cells and is usually performed so that higher doses of chemotherapy can be given to treat blood cancers such as multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and amyloidosis. In an allogeneic transplant, the patient receives healthy stem cells from a well-matched donor to replace their own stem cells that have been damaged by disease such as myelodysplastic syndromes. In the U.S., about 17,000 stem cell transplants were performed in patients with blood cancer and other blood disorders in 2009. Of these, nearly 10,000 were autologous and 7,000 were allogeneic.
"Stem cell transplants have become an indispensable part of treatment for many types of blood cancers and disorders," said Susan Stewart, Executive Director of BMT InfoNet and an autologous stem cell transplant survivor. "At BMT InfoNet, we are committed to supporting patients and helping them make an informed treatment decision with their oncologist about whether or not a stem cell transplant will help to improve their outcome."
About Stem Cell Transplantation
Hematopoietic stem cells are located in the bone marrow and mature into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets that circulate in the blood. A stem cell transplant (also known as a hematopoietic stem cell transplant, peripheral blood stem cell transplant and formally referred to as bone marrow transplant) is a procedure that replaces bone marrow cells that have been damaged by disease or cancer treatment. Healthy hematopoietic stem cells, either taken from the patient or a closely matched donor, are infused into the patient's blood stream. The new stem cells take up residence in the bone marrow and then develop into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Patients should speak with their physicians to determine if they are a candidate for a stem cell transplant and to determine which type of transplant may be right for them. Patients and their families can learn more about these procedures by visiting www.bmtinfonet.org.
About BMT InfoNet
BMT InfoNet (Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network) is a not-for-profit support organization for bone marrow, stem cell and cord blood transplant patients. Founded in 1990 BMT InfoNet is dedicated to providing transplant patients, survivors and their loved ones with emotional support and high quality, easy-to-understand information about bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cell and cord blood transplantation. Our goal is to empower patients with credible information and emotional support, so that they can take a more active role in decisions affecting their health and treatment options before, during and after transplant. Visit us online at www.bmtinfonet.org or phone 888-597-7674.
About Sanofi Oncology
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and Vitry, France, Sanofi Oncology is dedicated to translating science into effective therapeutics that address unmet medical needs for cancer and organ transplant patients. Starting with a deep understanding of the disease and the patient, Sanofi Oncology employs innovative approaches to drug discovery and clinical development, with the ultimate goal of bringing the right medicines to the right patients to help them live healthier and longer lives. We believe in the value of partnerships that combine our internal scientific expertise with that of industry and academic experts. Our portfolio includes 10 marketed products and more than 15 investigational compounds in clinical development, including small molecules and biological agents.
Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
Sanofi is the holding company of a consolidated group of subsidiaries and operates in the United States as Sanofi US. For more information on Sanofi US, please visit http://www.sanofi.us or call 1-800-981-2491.
Sanofi U.S. Oncology Division Communications Carrie Brown Tel: 1 (908) 981-6486; Mobile 1 (908) 247-6006 E-mail: email@example.com