UNC Hospitals preps for triple-tandem stem cell transplant

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --

A Carrboro man is getting the first triple-tandem stem cell transplant performed at UNC Hospitals to treat a testicular cancer recurrence.

David Alston was diagnosed with testicular cancer a year ago. He went through chemotherapy at UNC and thought he'd beat it, but doctors discovered the cancerhad come back during a routine blood test.

"I was devastated", said Alston. "I completely fell apart."

He found hope again when Dr. Paul Armstead at UNC Hospitalssuggested a treatment that involved stem cell transplants.

"It's good for someone young like David whose already tolerated all the chemotherapy we've given him," said Dr. Armstead. "We think this is his best chance of being cured of this disease."

Alston's stem cells were recovered in a process that Alston says is like giving blood.

"Once we give a high dose of chemotherapy we then take some of his frozen bone marrow stem cells and give those back to him," explained Dr. Armstead. "This allows his blood count to recover and that's transplant number one."

Alston's treatment is unique because he'll receive three transplants. It's a process that will keep him in the hospital for about nine weeks and take a major toll on his immune system.

"I'm nervous because I know there's going to be a point where I just feel terrible," said Alston.

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UNC Hospitals preps for triple-tandem stem cell transplant

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