Ovarian Cancer has been called the silent killer because women often are not diagnosed until late in the disease when the survival rate is maybe 30%. But at M.D. Anderson in Houston, researchers are experimenting with bone marrow stem cell transplants.
The procedure involves collecting stem cells from the woman's blood and freezing them. The patient then goes through five days of intensive chemo to destroy the Ovarian Cancer cells, a danger in itself because it drops the patient's immune system to critical levels, but that's when the stem cells are transplanted through an IV back into the woman's blood stream to regenerate the bone marrow and build back the immune system. "It is very significant for patients with advanced Ovarian Cancer for more than half to be alive six years after their therapy," says Dr. Michele Donata, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Donata says this is not a cure for Ovarian Cancer, but it does seem to be shifting the odds. M.D. Anderson is about to begin phase three of testing the bone marrow stem cell transplants in the near future.