Stem cell and bone marrow transplant (BMT) are lifesaving therapies for blood cancers and other disorders. Learn about our pediatric BMT program in Florida.
If your child has been diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or another blood or bone marrow disorder, a blood or bone marrow transplant (BMT) can be lifesaving. The specialists at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute have expertise in advanced techniques that help more children find a cure.
From the moment you arrive at our center in St. Petersburg, Florida, you can rest assured your child is receiving top-notch care. In addition to expert hematologists and oncologists, our team includes a dedicated transplant educator who will help you navigate every step of the BMT process.
We are committed to increasing survival rates for children who need BMT. We’ll explain the benefits and risks of this procedure to help you decide on the best care for your child.
Why Choose Us for Bone Marrow Transplant?
Bone marrow transplant (BMT) can dramatically increase survival rates for children with certain blood cancers and other disorders. Our skilled team of providers has years of experience performing these complicated procedures.
When your child comes to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital for a bone marrow transplant, you can expect:
- Expert team: We specialize in using BMT to treat leukemia, lymphoma and other blood disorders. Our hematologists, oncologists, transplant nurses and transplant coordinator develop a customized care plan for your child.
- Innovative treatments: Finding a well-matched donor can be difficult. In some cases, it can prevent children from getting a lifesaving transplant. Our experts use advanced techniques that increase the chances of a successful transplant with a 50 percent matched donor, such as a parent. We also use reduced-intensity transplant regimens when possible, helping your child stay stronger and healthier throughout treatment.
- Access to clinical trials: We’re a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, which is based in Baltimore. This relationship gives our patients access to all of their research studies and trials — without leaving Florida. We also collaborate with the Children’s Oncology Group, National Bone Marrow Donor Program and other consortiums working on cutting-edge research to improve patient outcomes.
- Collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center: We are the only pediatric affiliate of the Moffitt Cancer Center. Our physicians and researchers work with theirs to better understand pediatric cancers and potential treatments. Together, we are able to develop leading-edge stem cell therapies that improve outcomes for our patients. We share Moffitt’s accreditation with the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapies — a group that oversees quality standards.
- High volume, high success rates: We average about 45 bone marrow transplants per year. These treatments make cancer recovery possible for many of our young patients. Our team has also pioneered approaches that help lower risks of infection and other post-transplant complications.
- Caring, nurturing environment: Having a bone marrow transplant requires an extended hospital stay. We understand how difficult that can be for you and your child. At Johns Hopkins All Children’s, your child will stay on our dedicated pediatric blood and marrow transplant unit. Our specialists are dedicated to making this a safe and comforting place throughout your child’s treatment.
- Support for your whole family: Our Child Life specialists help patients, parents and siblings cope with questions, concerns and fears around BMT. They also help you and your children understand what to expect before, during and after a bone marrow transplant.
What Are Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Transplants?
You may see different terms used to describe this procedure, but both stem cell transplant and blood or bone marrow transplant mean the same thing. “Hematopoietic stem cell transplant” is the official name for the treatment.
Stem cells may come from:
- Peripheral blood (the blood circulating through your veins)
- Bone marrow (the spongy material inside the bones)
- Umbilical cord blood (from the blood vessels of the placenta and umbilical cord)
Using stem cells from a donor who is a close match to the recipient usually leads to the best results. For this reason, related donors are often the best match.
Before a transplant, your child receives chemotherapy to destroy cancerous cells or bone marrow that isn’t functioning correctly. During the transplant, new, healthy cells are infused into your child’s blood.
Types of Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Transplants We Offer
We’ve been performing bone marrow transplants on Florida’s west coast since 1985. Our expertise and history of innovation mean we can successfully treat patients using a variety of transplant techniques. These include:
- Autologous transplant: We harvest a patient’s stem cells from their blood or bone marrow and infuse them back into the blood after a course of chemotherapy. We also use innovative techniques to eliminate or genetically modify unhealthy cells and improve the outcomes of autologous transplants.
- Allogeneic transplant: We use stem cells from a related or unrelated donor.
- Umbilical cord blood transplant: We use stem cells from umbilical cord blood. This may come from a sibling’s birth, cord blood stored at the patient’s birth or a match found on a cord blood registry.
- Haploidentical transplant: Finding a perfect match — from a sibling or the donor registry — is not always possible. A haploidentical transplant means that a blood or bone marrow donor is a 50 percent match. The donor is usually a parent or sibling. This approach gives patients more options for finding a suitable donor and having a successful transplant.
How to Find or Become a Bone Marrow Donor
A related donor — often a sibling — can provide the best results for patients needing a bone marrow transplant. If you don’t have a family member who can donate or is a close match, you can look for an unrelated donor. Contact the National Marrow Donor Program to find a match or become a donor.
To find out more about our Stem Cell & Bone Marrow Transplant Program, call us at 727-767-4176. We serve families throughout the greater Tampa Bay area and beyond.