Adult bone marrow transplant

Duke is internationally recognized for its novel approaches to treating leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma through bone marrow, cord blood and stem cell transplants. We are one of the nation’s leading centers of bone marrow and stem cell transplantations; we've performed more than 4,500 transplants since 1984. Our bone marrow transplant research has reduced the associated complications, and allows people who were not previously eligible to undergo bone marrow transplantation.

Duke’s bone marrow transplant program saves lives

Our specialists use bone marrow and stem cell transplants to treat leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and brain tumors. We perform more blood and marrow transplants than any other medical center in the area. We are one of the nation’s few programs to use bone marrow to treat autoimmune diseases, sickle cell disease and other red blood cell-related diseases. Learn more about our pediatric blood and bone marrow transplant program, and our latest innovations and treatments for children.

A stem cell transplant replaces or regrows the immune system after you receive chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.  Several terms are used for stem cell transplant because stem cells can be obtained from the bone marrow, blood, or umbilical cord blood.  There are also different types of stem cell transplants. Your adult bone marrow transplant team will perform a comprehensive evaluation, which will help determine whether you need an autologous transplant (you receive your own stem cells), an allogeneic transplant (stem cells from a related or unrelated donor), or syngeneic transplant (stem cells from an identical twin).  

Choose Duke for your bone marrow transplant because we offer:

  • Top ranked care. We are consistently ranked among the best cancer programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, we are one of only a few National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers.  We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving care for our patients.
  • Pioneers in transplantation. Our experts are pioneers in blood and marrow transplantation. We performed the first cord blood transplant in 1993, and led the nation's first clinical trial to offer bone marrow transplant care in the home. 
  • Transplant research expands eligibility. Our scientists can manipulate donor blood cells to reduce complications and make transplants available to more people. Our research is especially vital in adult bone marrow transplant, as fewer than 25 percent of adults have access to closely matched donors.
  • More transplant options. We offer stem cell transplantation as an option to a broader number of people — including those who are older or lacking a closely matched donor — using less intense chemotherapy regimens and careful selection of donor cells. Donor cells may be identified from a family member, an unrelated donor who is registered in the National Marrow Donor Program, or publicly donated umbilical cord blood also identified through the National Marrow Donor Program.
  • Access to clinical trials. You may have access to the latest therapies through our innovative research programs and clinical trials, which test experimental therapies and provide new therapies for people with advanced or complex diseases.
  • Dedicated attention and care. Your transplant coordinator will facilitate the transplant process. She or he will be in charge of coordinating all of your tests, exams, and treatments at Duke.
  • A team of specialists. In addition to your transplant coordinator, a dedicated team of board-certified hematologists and medical oncologists, clinical pharmacists, specially trained nurses, dieticians, and social workers will follow you throughout your transplant process. They meet regularly to discuss your care, collect opinions, and offer the best recommendations for your needs.
  • Support for your whole being. Our comprehensive cancer support services range from helping people minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment.

Patient stories

Preparing for your transplant

In preparation for a transplant, you will need to make several trips to Duke. After a comprehensive evaluation by your adult bone marrow transplant team, you will undergo tests to ensure it is safe for you to have the transplant.


Once it is determined that you are a successful candidate for transplant, the following steps will be taken. Post-transplant tollow-up care will help you return to optimal health.

Schedule your appointment today.
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