by Maggie Diebolt
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
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),
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 http://www.muschealth.com/transplant/bmt/index.htm.
Friday, Oct. 16, 2009