Stem Cell Transplantation
Refining Bone Marrow Transplantation for Children
NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital has one of the oldest and largest stem cell and bone marrow transplantation programs in the nation, offering this treatment to children with cancer and non-cancerous blood disorders. Some patients can have a novel "reduced-intensity" approach to stem cell transplantation. We give low-dose chemotherapy plus immune therapy to allow the donor's cells to grow while minimizing side effects.
About our program
Our stem cell transplant program is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) for autologous (self), allogeneic (donated), and umbilical cord blood transplantations. We understand that a stem cell transplant is a lengthy process and that your child will need to be in the hospital for some time. We offer support, activities, education, and guidance during your child's time with us, as well as afterward when it's time to go home. The Center for Comprehensive Wellness offers a full range of supportive care and integrative health services for your child, you, and other family members.
What we treat
We have superior expertise in the use of stem cell transplantation to treat:
- Sickle cell disease
- Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis — a disorder in which the immune system produces too many activated immune cells
- Leukemia that cannot be successfully treated with other therapies
- Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), as part of our New York State-certified SCID Program
- Rare blood disorders that can only be cured with a stem cell transplant
Our approach to care
Our patients receive state-of-the-art care from a multidisciplinary team that includes pediatric stem cell transplant physicians, nurses, social workers, child life specialists, pharmacists, nutritionists, teachers, psychologists, and physical and occupational therapists. Our patients also have access to all of the physicians throughout NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center specializing in pediatric conditions. They help manage complications and address other medical concerns.
How stem cell transplantation works
Stem cell transplantation works by replacing unhealthy blood-forming cells with healthy cells. Our team can help find a suitable donor through the National Marrow Donor Program for patients who do not have a related matched donor.
- The transplant process. The transplant begins by giving the patient chemotherapy to destroy their diseased cells. The patient then receives bone marrow from the donor, which contains healthy blood stem cells. The stem cells from the donor, which are given intravenously (by vein), know where they belong in the body and settle in the bone marrow — where they grow and produce healthy new red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This process is called "engraftment." Patients can expect to stay in the hospital for 8-12 weeks to receive the chemotherapy and the bone marrow transplant.
- Recovering from the transplant. Patients may leave the hospital once doctors see that the stem cell transplant has been accepted and the patient has recovered from the side effects of the chemotherapy. We continue to monitor and support patients on an outpatient basis for an additional 6-12 months. We provide care to reduce the risk of infections and complications after transplantation. For most children, the return to regular activity and school takes approximately one year, though every child is different.
- Novel therapies for complications after transplant. We excel in using novel treatments for acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a potential complication of transplantation in which cells from the donor attack tissues of the recipient.
Why choose us
The Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation program achieves superior outcomes compared to other centers. We exceed the national benchmark for quality measures (such as 100-day mortality, the incidence of GVHD, overall survival, and disease-free survival). Our outcomes are better than other programs in the New York metropolitan area, such as a 1-year overall survival rate of 75% (versus 64% at other programs.)