Difference between Autologous And Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant

Stem cells are immature, undifferentiated cells developing into several types of cells in the body. These cells can self-renew on a long-term basis, and have the capability to replicate and split itself for longer durations.

Stem cell transplants involve either replacing ineffective or diseased stem cells with healthier new stem cells or allowing treatment for lymphoma and some diseases.

Transplantation would be required when the body cannot produce enough blood cells as required, as the blood cells or bone marrow is infected and is required to be substituted. It could also be because it is treated with high doses of radiation/chemotherapy that destroys the stem and cancerous cells simultaneously.

Commonly, two types of stem cell transplants that are carried out are autologous and allogeneic transplants. These two types of stem cell transplants are commonly deployed treatment courses for diseases such as lymphoma, leukemia, etc.

Autologous Stem Cell Transplant

  • This type of transplant makes use of an individual’s own stem cells
  • These cells are taken from the individual and before moving to the transplant conditioning, these are frozen in liquid nitrogen
  • These cells are normal intrinsically and are accumulated to permit the recovery of blood cells after administering a high dose of therapy, which otherwise could destruct it
  • Once the conditioning treatment takes place, the stem cells of the patient is given back to the body to aid it in producing healthy white and red blood cells and even platelets

Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant

  • The procedure makes use of the stem cells from a donor whose HLA (human leukocyte antigens) are acceptable matches to that of the patient’s
  • The stem cells for this type of transplant can be collected from the donor including – relatives with partially matched stem cells, siblings with perfectly matched stem cells, or an individual not related but found on the National Marrow Donor Program

Key Difference between Autologous And Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant

The table below depicts the differences between Autologous And Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant.

Autologous Stem Cell Transplant

Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant

What does the procedure involve?

Here, the stem cells are obtained from the same individual who gets a transplant, hence the patient is its own donor

Here, the stem cells are from an individual other than the patient, which could either be unrelated or a matched donor


One gets one’s own cells back into the body. Hence, there is no fear of them being rejected by the body

The stem cells of donors produce their own immune cells that could aid in killing any cancer cells which remain after high-dose treatment. It is referred to as a graft-versus-cancer.

What are its risks?

The grafts can fail. Additionally, these transplants cannot produce the graft-versus-cancer effect. One limitation of it is that the cancerous cells can get collected with the stem cells, and can be transferred back into the system.

The graft might not take in the transplanted donor stem cells well or could die or be destroyed by the body of the patient before settling in the bone marrow. Additionally, the donor’s immune cells can attack the cancerous cells as well as the healthy cells. This is referred to as graft-versus-host disease.

Used in the treatment of

Used in the treatment of some lymphomas, leukemias, multiple myeloma and some other cancers, multiple sclerosis, systemic sclerosis, etc.

Used in the treatment of some types of lymphomas, multiple myeloma, leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and some bone marrow disorders.

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