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MUSCMedical LinksCharleston LinksArchivesCatalyst AdvertisersSeminars and EventsResearch StudiesPublic RelationsResearch GrantsMUSC home pageCommunity HappeningsCampus NewsApplause


BMT Program offers adult, peds services

by Maggie Diebolt
Public Relations
Each year, thousands of people of all ages are diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and other life-threatening illnesses. Individuals whose bone marrow doesn’t produce the necessary cells often need a bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant to survive. A bone marrow transplant delivers healthy bone marrow stem cells into the patient, to replace marrow that isn’t working or has been destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation.
The Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program offers a full range of adult and pediatric blood and marrow transplant services. Having performed more than 900 transplants since 1987, including autologous, related donor, unrelated donor, cord blood, and non-myeloablative allogeneic transplants, MUSC offers the only unrelated blood and marrow transplant program in the state of South Carolina.
“The Bone Marrow Transplant Program at MUSC is supported by a cutting-edge research team of professionals, and we are dedicated to meeting the needs of the citizens of South Carolina and providing excellent patient care,” said Robert Stuart, M.D., BMT Program director. 
Through the BMT Program, patients have access to cutting-edge clinical trials including several for the prevention and treatment of graft versus host disease (GVHD). As the designated Medicaid BMT provider for South Carolina, the program will soon perform its 1,000th case.
To ensure continuity of care, MUSC’s BMT Program offers a holistic, comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach to patient care built on experience. The program incorporates the following: two full-time attending physicians and additional part-time physician faculty members; one inpatient and two outpatient nurse practitioners; three dedicated bone marrow transplant coordinators, who follow each patient from referral through transplant and recovery; a dedicated BMT research nurse; a bone marrow transplant fellowship, and weekly updates on each referral patient with information faxed to the referring physician.

Pediatric Blood, Marrow Transplant Program
Cancer is the No. 1 cause of non-accidental death in children, and according to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, approximately 46 U.S. children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every day.
The Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program is the only statewide pediatric program in  that treats babies, children and teenagers from areas throughout the Southeast who are battling cancer and other diseases. The program is fully accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy. Currently ranked in the top third of all programs within the National Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium, the pediatric transplant team offers transplantation for a variety of malignant and non-malignant conditions including leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, sickle cell disease, and marrow failure syndromes. In addition, the average search time for unrelated donors is about one to two weeks shorter than the national average.
“As difficult as it is to have to tell parents that their child has cancer, it is excruciating to have to come back and tell them that there is no match,” said Michelle Hudspeth, M.D., director of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. “As long as we have an option for transplant, we have hope. Hope is a very powerful thing, and it is everything when your child is battling cancer.”  
Finding a match for a blood and marrow transplant involves specialized, complex tissue typing based on the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system. HLA typing tends to be more similar in ethnic groups.  Currently, ethnic minorities have only a 30 percent to 40 percent chance of finding a match in National Marrow Donor Program Registry.  Caucasians have an 80 percent chance of finding a match. Recently, the pediatric transplant team performed their first haploidentical (half-matched) transplant this year, which extends the transplant option to anyone with a mother or a father. To join the bone marrow registry for free (offer available until the end of the year), visit
A variety of clinical trials and the latest therapeutic options are available through MUSC’s participation in the Children’s Oncology Group, the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium, and the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network.
To learn more about the blood and marrow transplant program and clinical trials, visit

Friday, Oct. 16, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.