Bone Marrow Transplant - Children

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Stem Cell Innovations

Doctors and researchers at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, an SCCA founding organization, continually devise and implement improvements in stem cell transplantation for children and adults. Some of the latest developments benefiting our pediatric patients include cord blood transplants, alternative donors such as mini-transplants, and transplants for children with non-malignant diseases.  

Infants May Benefit from Transplantation

Even infants may benefit from a stem cell transplantation in some cases, and doctors at SCCA and the Hutchinson Center lead the way in performing transplants on these especially young patients.

Improving the odds for survival

We have had great success performing transplants for infants with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) diagnosed before the age of one year. In these children, use of transplantation is controversial. The Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a national consortium of pediatric cancer care centers, recommends against transplantation for these children. However, their overall rate of disease-free survival is only 20 percent with conventional chemotherapy, while it’s 76 percent among those who receive a transplant through SCCA and the Hutchinson Center.

Our ongoing research differentiates us from most other U.S. transplant centers

Attention to detail and constant research pays off. This approach to transplants makes an important difference in our success rates. Our rigorous and continuous research into transplant techniques and post-transplant care, including attention to detail through our patients’ transplant time and for 100 days after their transplant and our graft-versus-host disease programs, account for much of the success.

In 2005, 95 percent of children who had a stem cell (hematopoietic cell) transplant at SCCA for any reason survived at least 100 days. Doctors commonly use the 100-day survival rate as one measure of transplant success. A 95 percent survival rate means our rate of death from transplant-related complications is very low.

Infants have all the same donor options as older children and adults have, including siblings and other family members, unrelated donors and cord blood. If you want to know more about whether a transplant may be appropriate for your infant, contact Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at (206) 987-2106.

You can see definitions of terms used in this section.

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Improving Cord Blood Transplants

Innovations in cord blood transplantation may make this option more successful in children and much more widely available to adults, which is good news for the many people who need a hematopoietic cell transplant but cannot find a matched donor.

Transplants for Non-Malignant Diseases

Well known for their effectiveness in curing cancer, stem cell transplants hold great potential for alleviating other types of diseases, too—especially those that involve the blood or the immune system.