How We Treat Blood Cancers
NewYork-Presbyterian offers complete care for all blood cancers — customizing your therapy to the type, stage, and biology of your disease as well as your age and overall health.
Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for blood cancers. You may receive one drug or a combination of therapies. While some of these medications are taken by mouth, many others are given intravenously. We give intravenous chemotherapies in our warm, supportive outpatient infusion centers, where our experienced team can monitor any side effects and address your comfort. You may also receive chemotherapy as an inpatient in specially designated, oncology nursing units.
Targeted anticancer drugs zero in on the molecular signals driving cancer growth. These treatments are designed to take aim directly at cancer cells while sparing healthy cells, often resulting in fewer side effects than conventional chemotherapy. For blood cancers, many new targeted therapies have been developed in the last several years that treat these cancers more precisely than conventional anticancer drugs. Your doctor will let you know if a targeted therapy is right for you.
Bone Marrow Transplantation & CAR T-cell Therapy
Bone marrow transplantation has evolved into the standard of care for many patients with blood cancers and other blood disorders. NewYork-Presbyterian offers bone marrow and stem cell transplantation for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, myelofibrosis, and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). We perform more than 250 bone marrow transplants per year and pride ourselves on exceptional outcomes that improve quality of life for our patients. We also screen patients for clinical trials assessing innovative treatment approaches.
If your doctor recommends a transplant, you will want to receive care from a team with an established track record in a hospital where all of your medical needs can be addressed. At NewYork-Presbyterian, we have advanced transplant units offering individual monitoring and special airflow systems for patients with weakened immune systems. We also have special expertise in transplants from mismatched donors — often enabling patients turned away at other centers to receive a transplant here — and use approaches that reduce the risk of transplant-related complications.
Our center is certified and highly experienced in providing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. CAR T-cells are made from a patient's own white blood cells (T cells) which have been collected from the patient, modified in a lab to recognize certain proteins on cancer cells, and returned to the patient to detect, attach to, and destroy cancer cells throughout the body. CAR T-cell therapy is FDA-approved for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, and younger patients with relapsed B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). We also offer cutting-edge clinical trials of novel CAR T-cell therapy for other cancers, including myeloma, leukemia, and some solid tumors.
Autologous stem cell transplantation is commonly used to treat patients with multiple myeloma lymphoma, certain types of leukemia, and germ cell tumors. You will have some of your own stem cells removed and preserved and then you will receive intensive chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells. After chemotherapy is completed, we will return the stored stem cells to you to help your body rebuild your blood and immune systems. Although arduous, autologous stem cell transplantation is very safe and effective and the best treatment for many patients.
With this transplant, you will receive stem cells from a matched related or unrelated donor — someone who has a similar "human leukocyte antigen (HLA)" type. This is the treatment of choice for many patients with blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndromes, and certain types of multiple myeloma. Allogenic transplantation is also a treatment of choice for patients with severe aplastic anemia and increasingly for patients with sickle cell disease or thalassemia. NewYork-Presbyterian offers more allogeneic transplants for older adults than any other center in the tri-state area.
Many patients lack a suitably matched donor, but they can still successfully undergo transplantation using a haplo-cord transplant. Through this process, patients receive stem cells from a single umbilical cord blood unit combined with stem cells from an adult donor who is partially matched to the patient. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center is especially well-known for its experience with haplo-cord transplants and is one of the few centers in the world offering them.
NewYork-Presbyterian, together with its academic medical school partners – Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medicine – is home to a vigorous translational research program. Our basic science researchers collaborate with clinical investigators to speed the translation of innovative laboratory findings to the clinic, where patients may benefit from cutting-edge research. The successful treatment of many blood cancers relies on clinical trials, and we have a robust portfolio of these pivotal studies. Your doctor will let you know if a clinical trial may be right for you. Your decision to participate is entirely up to you.
Radiation therapy is less commonly used to treat blood cancers, but it is sometimes used to treat symptoms and to prepare for bone marrow transplantation. Our radiation therapy units feature the latest and most precise radiation therapy equipment.