Major Milestone Reached: 1,000th Stem Cell Transplant Performed

Lurie Children’s reached a medical milestone recently when the Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Team performed its 1,000th stem cell transplant; the child who received the transplant is eight-year-old Antoine Dudley who has sickle cell disease. Since 1992, pediatric specialists have performed an average of 50 transplants each year, as part of the largest outpatient pediatric stem cell transplantation program in the region.

The hospital has pioneered the use of reduced intensity and reduced toxicity transplants, and the use of peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs) in pediatric patients. In addition, it is the only site in Illinois to offer groundbreaking clinical trials of stem cell transplants from matched unrelated donors for children with severe sickle cell disease and thalassemia. Both trials use a reduced intensity preparative regimen to minimize toxicity and prevent long term effects, such as loss of fertility.

“Our deep commitment to research has made us a leader in stem cell transplantation,” said Morris Kletzel, MD, Division Head of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant and Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The program includes comprehensive care in immunodeficiency disorders, pediatric malignancies, non-malignant hematologic conditions, metabolic disorders, and offers outpatient transplants for suitable candidates.

The program also is home to one of the most comprehensive graft vs host disease clinics in world, offering state of the art treatment including extracoporeal photopheresis for children. The hospital also provides a long term follow up program, through its STAR program, to follow patients long into adulthood.

All children referred for a stem cell transplant have a multidisciplinary team to support them before and after transplant.  A doctor and advanced practice nurse (APN) function as the primary team, caring for the child throughout the transplant process.  The goal of this team approach is to provide consistent, expert care from the point of referral to the completion of the transplant.

“Patients and their families benefit from this tight team approach, which combines highly specialized education of all stem cell transplant specialists with the clinical experience of advanced practice nurses,” said Dr. Kletzel. “Each APN focuses on a unique part of the transplant process, maintaining consistency and reinforcing continuity of care. In addition, a primary social worker and a psycho-social team with Child Life specialists play integral roles in supporting the emotional, social, educational and developmental needs of the patient and family.”

For more information, please contact Julie Pesch at 312.227.4261.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital, is a 23-story, state-of-the-art hospital located in downtown Chicago on the campus of its academic partner, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals in the U.S.News & World Report 2013-14 Honor Roll rankings. Lurie Children’s provides pediatric care in a setting that offers the latest benefits and innovations in medical technology, research and family-friendly design. The hospital relies on philanthropic support to care for more than 149,000 children each year.

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