A Second Chance for Patients in Need of a Bone Marrow Transplant

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.

Portrait of Dr. Kamar Godder

“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.

About Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Where Children Matter Most (2024)

Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with approximately 850 attending physicians, including more than 500 pediatric subspecialists. The 307-bed hospital is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and since 2003 has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession’s most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit www.nicklauschildrens.org.

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