Total body irradiation (TBI) is used at Columbia University Medical Center as part of the conditioning regimen prior to allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for leukemias and lymphomas. Patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia, acute leukemias, and relapsed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma may be eligible for high-dose therapy programs at Columbia University Medical Center.
After chemotherapy and TBI, stem cells from the bone marrow or peripheral blood are infused to rescue from the toxicity of the therapy. Often allogeneic stem cells (ie. from a brother/sister or from an unrelated HLA-matched donor) are used for the reconstitution of the immune system after high-dose therapy. Allogeneic cells provide a therapeutic benefit since their immune function plays a role in fighting the cancer. Total body irradiation aids in the engraftment, or acceptance, of these foreign immune cells by the body. Better supportive care, refinements and improvements in total body irradiation technique and chemotherapy regimens, and better understanding and application of immune cell therapeutics will all contribute to the more effective management of selected patients with leukemias and lymphomas.