Chemotherapy is highly effective at killing cancer cells, but at the same time it kills healthy cells too. One promising new development in the treatment of advanced testicular cancer is bone marrow transplantation. In this procedure, the patient receives drugs to coax their own blood-forming stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood stream. The stem cells are then filtered from the bloodstream and frozen for transplantation back into the body after high-dose chemotherapy treatment.
Stem cell transplantation gives the body back its own bone marrow cells, replenishing those that were destroyed during chemotherapy treatment. With the ability to preserve vital bone marrow–producing red blood cells, oncologists can use higher doses of chemotherapy to attack resistant cancer cells, potentially increasing the cure rate.