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Bone marrow (blood stem cell) transplantation has a long history at Johns Hopkins. In fact, more than 40 years ago, George Santos, a Johns Hopkins physician-scientist, established regimens that would lead to bone marrow transplantation as it is performed today. In 1995, we established one of the first pediatric bone marrow transplant programs in the country. Today, the Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation at Johns Hopkins is internationally recognized and provides outstanding care to children, adolescents, and young adults in need of a blood stem cell transplant procedure.
Physicians at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center work together on a number of transplant protocols – most developed here -- that are curing many children with a variety of cancers and other disorders of the blood, bone marrow and immune system. Our program, a leader in clinical care and research initiatives, is the only accredited program in the state of Maryland and remains committed to raising the standard of care for bone marrow transplant recipients.
Read more about Johns Hopkins’ history with bone marrow transplantation and the types of transplants now offered at our center.
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The Pediatric bone marrow transplant (BMT) program is directed by Dr. Kenneth R. Cooke, an internationally known BMT physician and expert in transplant-related complications including graft-versus-host-disease and acute and chronic lung dysfunction. He has been successful in developing multi-center, translational research protocols in these areas. The program’s mission is simple: to ensure that every patient in need of a bone marrow transplant has a suitable donor, and to minimize the toxicity and maximize the efficacy of our transplant protocols.
The Pediatric BMT Program provides transplantation of hematopoietic (or blood) stem cells derived from the bone marrow as a treatment option for a variety of acquired and congenital disorders of children and young adults, including:
- acute and chronic leukemia
- Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas
- brain tumors
- bone marrow failure syndromes
- inherited immune deficiency syndrome
- metabolic disorders
At Johns Hopkins, BMT patients are managed by an integrated team made up of specialized physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, and inpatient and outpatient nurses. Inpatient care is delivered at the recently constructed Bloomberg Children’s Center within a 20-bed, hepa-filtered unit dedicated solely to the care of oncology and BMT patients. Outpatient care is provided in a state-of-the-art clinic located on the same floor as the inpatient unit.
The program has significant experience using a variety of conditioning regimens - including both full intensity (myeloablative) and reduced intensity - to prepare the body for BMT and infuse stem cells from sources including the bone marrow, peripheral blood and cord blood or placenta. High dose chemotherapy followed by the infusion of stem cells collected and frozen from the patient is also an option available for many solid tumors, as is high dose cyclophosphamide therapy alone for select bone marrow failure and autoimmune syndromes.
Taking care of transplant patients is one of the most complicated and yet rewarding areas of medicine, Dr. Cooke says: “BMT is not just a procedure – it’s a platform from which other forms of cancer therapy can be given. The procedure itself is rather straightforward, but the provision of post-transplant care in the days, weeks, months and years that follow absolutely requires a dedicated, well-trained group of practitioners.” The Pediatric BMT team at Johns Hopkins combines years of patient care experience; expertise in supportive care, transplant-related complications and survivorship; and direct links to national cooperative groups.
The Pediatric BMT program at Johns Hopkins is recognized as a Children’s Oncology Group (COG)-designated transplant center. A unique aspect of the program is its seamless integration into the larger, nationally recognized adult BMT program at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center headed by Dr. Rick Jones. The combined programs received FACT re-accreditation in December of 2014 and share a common stem cell processing facility, meetings to discuss relevant patient issues, and clinical protocols, along with infrastructure and resources for clinical trial development, data collection and data monitoring.