Combining Stem Cell Therapy With Chemotherapy For Cancer Of The Testicles

When you hear about stem cell therapy in regards to testicular cancer, it is usually in conjunction with chemotherapy. There are a number of clinical studies and such which explore whether or not the transplantation of stem cells will help once an intensive, high dose of chemotherapy is given.

If you are not familiar with stem cells, these are the living cells in bone marrow which work to produce your blood cells all over the body. Having healthy bone marrow is critical in defending your body against many illnesses and therefore, necessary for a proper immune system. However, chemotherapy can destroy these healthy cells leaving you vulnerable to illness without the proper defense to combat them.

Stem cell therapy involves the collection of these healthy stem cells and preserving them by freezing them until they can be used. A special piece of medical equipment is used to collect these stem cells in your blood stream. There are also procedures to harvest some bone marrow which produces these stem cells or even using umbilical cord blood which is ripe with healthy “virgin” stem cells.

If you have an advanced form of testicular cancer, stem cell therapy may be used right away after chemotherapy. This therapy is also quite popular for testicular cancer patients who have had a recurrence of the disease after chemotherapy.

In the chemotherapy process, the drug cocktail travels through the blood stream to combat the cancerous cells and in the process, destroys some healthy ones as well, particularly those in the bone marrow. The result is the incapability to produce the necessary white blood cells necessary for fighting infections. In addition, red blood cells which carry life giving oxygen throughout the body are affected too. Platelets are affected as well and are an important part of the blood as well and help with proper blood clotting.

Stem cell therapy involves harvesting these important stem cells and preserving them before chemotherapy begins. Then, after chemotherapy is conducted, doctors re-introduce the carefully preserved stem cells back into the body to help kick start the healing process and to boost your immunity in the event of any illness.

Having your own stem cells harvested is called an autologous stem cell transplant and is actually the best method over an allogeniec stem cell transplant which uses a donor’s stem cells. There is less chance of your body rejecting your own stem cells than those from a stranger. However, there is a slight chance of some cancer cells slipping into those harvested stem cells collected from you so doctors will sometimes treat them with anti-cancer drugs first. By the same token, there is a chance your body could reject the allogeneic stem cell transplant as well.

Right now, stem cell therapy is a promising way to help your body fight back normal, everyday illnesses like cold and flu after chemotherapy treatment for testicular as well as other types of cancer. Talk with your doctor about your options. Each person’s medical history is different and you may best benefit from an alternative treatment.

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