As bone marrow transplant program thrives, patient outcomes exceed expectations

February 17, 2016 | by Letisia Marquez

BMT reunion 2015 Bone marrow donors and survivors celebrate at the 2015 BMT Reunion

For the 11th year in a row, the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) has recognized City of Hope’s bone marrow transplantation (BMT) program as exceeding outcome expectations for its patients, the only such program in the nation to have done so over this length of time.

The designation also comes at a time when an increasing number of patients with advanced blood cancers are turning to the BMT program for treatment, with City of Hope’s hematopoietic cell transplantations volume in 2015 exceeding 600 patients. 

In analyzing outcomes, the NMDP, which manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world, examines the types of patients that a program admits for transplantation and how advanced each person’s disease is, explained Stephen J. Forman, M.D., the Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and leader of the Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute. The organization then establishes outcome expectations, or how likely it is that a patient can be cured based on those factors.

Forman attributes the success of City of Hope’s BMT program to how closely physicians, nurses and other medical staff work together to provide excellent patient care.

“We have a very experienced program with physicians who have been doing transplants and helping to develop transplant protocols for many years,” he said. “Our subspecialists in infectious diseases, surgery and radiology also have experience caring for transplant patients. And, our nurses are critical since they are closest to our patients during their course of treatment.” 

Forman noted that City of Hope’s research extends far beyond improving immediate outcomes for transplant patients.

“We not only take care of people undergoing a transplant, but we also do research that contributes to their well-being and to the field,” Forman said. “We are very focused on trying to reduce relapses in our patients, developing programs that are designed to make that happen and sharing that knowledge with the greater medical community.”

As part of that commitment, City of Hope physicians will host an interactive educational conference for oncologists, hematologists and oncology nurses to learn about the latest advances in bone marrow transplants, as well as in the treatment of leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, March 10 to 12 in Las Vegas.

“How the Experts Treat Hematologic Malignancies” is an accredited continuing medical education event that will feature updates on curative and palliative treatments and evolving molecular and immunology-based system therapies. Those interested in attending may register at City of Hope’s continuing medical education website.

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If you are looking for a second opinion or consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.

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