Upstate’s Bone Marrow Transplant Program treats patients whose bone marrow has been damaged or destroyed by chemotherapy, radiation or certain cancers or anemias. Marrow, the soft tissue inside bones, is home to most of the immature stem cells that will develop into healthy blood cells; some also circulate in the blood. Cells from the patient or a matching donor are harvested by a needle into a bone or filtered from collected blood and can be frozen for storage. The cells are then infused through a patient’s vein and start growing into healthy new blood cells. Upstate has performed more than 800 such transplants since starting the program in 1992. Patients stay in a specialized unit with specialized nurses to prevent infection and receive multidisciplinary care from a team that might include a radiation oncologist, a dietitian and a social worker. Upstate’s program was recently reaccredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy.
This article appears in the fall 2015 issue of Cancer Care magazine.