Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Program

Liquid nitrogen tanks in the Stanford Cellular Therapeutics and Transplantation Laboratory house purified cell preparations at minus 195 degrees Celsius. The lab is the principal cell processing and cryogenic storage facility supporting stem cell transplantation therapies at Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

Much of the lab’s work supports the transplantation of blood-forming stem cells following very high doses of radiotherapy or chemotherapy. These cells regenerate the blood of transplant recipients who have undergone otherwise lethal doses of chemotherapy.

Stanford was the first institution in the United States to use purified blood-forming stem cells, rather than whole bone marrow transplants, to regenerate the bone marrow in chemotherapy patients. By using purified stem cells rather than whole bone marrow taken from the patient before chemotherapy, doctors avoid re-injecting patients with their own cancer cells.

Advances in stem cell and cancer research have a long-standing history at the School of Medicine. Irving Weissman, MD, the Karel H. and Avice N. Beekhuis Professor in Cancer Biology, was the first to isolate blood-forming stem cells in mice in 1988. In 1992, Weissman isolated human blood-forming stem cells. He collaborated with Robert Negrin, MD, professor of medicine, and others in a clinical trial in which purified stem cells were used effectively to treat women with advanced, metastatic breast cancer.

More recently, Seung Kim, PhD, assistant professor of developmental biology, and colleagues reported using embryonic stem cells to produce insulin to keep diabetic mice alive, while Judith Shizuru, MD, assistant professor of medicine, has had good results in using stem cells to treat autoimmune disease.

 

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