Bone Marrow Transplant

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SCCA Transplant Program “exceeds expectations”

Dr. Marco Mielcarek talks about the about the Fred Hutchinson Bone Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA and why it is successful.In a recent study, the Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) was one of just 13 stem cell transplant programs nationwide that outperformed its expected one-year survival rate for patients undergoing allogeneic transplants. This type of transplant uses stem cells from a donor, whether related or unrelated to the patient. 

These results were published by the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR), which analyzed the National Marrow Donor Program’s (NMDP) registry of 168 U.S. transplant centers over a three-year period for its 2013 Transplant Center-Specific Survival Report.

Comparing Apples to Apples

“Comparing transplant centers in the U.S. is an extremely challenging process,” explains Marco Mielcarek, MD, medical director of the Hutch/SCCA Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. “There are so many variables that must be taken into account; each patient has a unique risk profile. These patient considerations include their type of underlying cancer and cancer stage, the patient’s underlying medical problems and age, the type of transplant they undergo, and the source of the stem cells for the transplant.”

The point of all this intensive analysis is to enable researchers to compare apples to apples—and help patients and their families in their decision-making process as they’re evaluating where to go for treatment. “When you adjust for all of these risk factors, our patients’ outcomes exceeded expectations over this three-year period,” Dr. Mielcarek says.

To arrive at its findings, CIBMTR independently examined the survival rates of 19,945 transplants performed to treat blood cancers at U.S. centers in the NMDP network. The reporting period for the 2013 Report covered January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011. During this three-year period, 762 allogeneic transplants were performed at SCCA. The Report, published annually, is required by federal law. It is designed to provide potential stem cell transplant recipients, their families, and the public with comparative survival rates among transplant centers.

Says Fred Appelbaum, MD, executive director of SCCA and executive vice president and deputy director of the Hutch, “I’m very happy to see that our transplant patients during this period again had a survival that was better than predicted, and thus we “outperformed” in the language of the CIBMTR. The study’s findings reflect the extraordinary and long-standing dedication by the staff of the Hutch and SCCA to improve the outcomes of our patients by continually refining transplantation to be a safer and more effective treatment.”