More Transplant Patients Getting Stem Cells

Posted at: 10/31/2013 6:37 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- When you think of a transplant surgery most people think of organ transplant. But at the Gift of Life Transplant House they are seeing an increase in a different type of transplant. Stem cell transplants are becoming more common.

Each year hundreds of patients stay at the Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester.

"I found out I had leukemia," said  Bruce Gould.

Bruce Gould is just one of the patients there for a stem cell transplant and there are more and more just like him.

"55 days ago I had my transplant, my little brother donated, I was lucky he was a match," said Gould.

A stem cell transplant is the injection, of healthy stem cells into your body to replace damaged or diseased stem cells. 

Gift of Life Transplant House executive director, Ginger Holmes, says in fact the majority of people staying at the house are now stem cell transplant recipients.

"Probably in the last ten years is when we've really seen an increase in our tissue transplants," said Holmes

Mayo Clinic says they do around 700 stem cell transplants a year  and they say that that number is growing each year mainly due to the fact they are finding more uses.

"Our growth is due in part to the fact we can transplant a wider age range," said Dr. Patrick Johnston.

Dr. Johnston says they are already looking for more even more uses.

"For example, here we are trying to repair heart tissue by directly injecting blood stem cells into the heart," said Dr. Johnston.

For Gould, like many others at the gift of life transplant  house…

"Here I am 55th day after my transplant and I'm doing great," said Gould.

The transplant has given him some hope.

"So far it's made my life longer, I was given 4-6 weeks to live, that was in April so, I'm still here doing good," said Gould.

The Gift of Life Transplant House has about one hundred beds on average about sixty percent are stem cell recipients.