Published on: 06/08/2017
The Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s Cancer Center has successfully transplanted bone marrow from a mother who is only a half match donor to her young daughter utilizing a technique that requires specialized doses of chemotherapy prior to and after the transplant. Nicklaus Children’s is one of the few pediatric programs to offer the technique.
Dr. Kamar Godder, Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Nicklaus Children’s, says the partial match and combined chemotherapy technique provides hope to children in need of a bone marrow transplant that would otherwise not have a donor.
“The patient population we serve in South Florida is comprised of a mix of ethnic backgrounds with a variable genetic combination which makes it impossible to find a perfect match donor in the public donor registry. We are hopeful that this emerging technique that is now available in South Florida, will give families another option for a cure, ” said Dr. Godder.
Traditional blood and marrow transplant requires a near-perfect match donor to successfully transplant to a patient. When a family member is not a perfect match, registries of unrelated donors provide hope to children and adults awaiting a bone marrow transplant.
The use of half a match donor, which began in the 1980’s, was associated with tedious laboratory manipulation of the bone marrow to modify the immune system in the marrow and allow for successful transplant. That original method is costly and requires hours of laboratory manipulation. The risks for the patients are also higher with this method since it involves modifying the blood and marrow.
The partial match donor/combined chemotherapy technique has proven successful for a two year-old patient with leukemia who already received a transplant from an unrelated cord blood transplant a year ago. Unfortunately, the disease recurred. The patient, whose mother served as a partial match donor. Has been given a second chance to living a cancer-free life.