Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation

The pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program (BMT) at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center was established in July 1990 in order to complement the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Division (also known as The Tomorrows Children’s Institute (TCI)) which began at HackensackUMC three years earlier.  The BMT program evolved incrementally, initially offering only autologous marrow transplantation, but gradually expanded to its present breadth of therapeutic services.  It now includes autologous marrow and peripheral blood stem cell transplants as well as allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT), either from histocompatible siblings or from suitably matched unrelated donors (volunteers are identified through the National Marrow Donor Program or umbilical cord blood units).

In 1996, the BMT program was accredited as a National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) transplant center and performed its first unrelated bone marrow transplant.  In 1998, the HackensackUMC Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program became the first center in the country to receive accreditation from the foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT).  FACT reaccreditation was achieved in 2002 and 2008.  Since its inception, the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program has performed over 350 autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplants.  The BMT service is the only pediatric transplant center in the state of New Jersey.

Our program is an accredited member of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC) and the Children’s Oncology (COG).  In addition, through our PBMTC membership, we are active participants in transplantation trials sponsored by the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN).  We also regularly collaborate with other BMT researchers to offer innovative transplantation protocols.  We have collaborated with Dr. Jonathan Finley of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, on multi-center Head Start protocols for patients with high risk central nervous system tumors.  Currently, we are collaborating with the BMT group at New York Medical College in a Clolar based protocol for high risk leukemia patients, and in a tandem (autologous/allogeneic) BMT protocol for lymphoma with Columbia University.

Over the last several years, we have recognized the need for better supportive care options and have been working with several companies to provide new bone marrow transplant drugs.  Specifically, we have opened trials with Osiris for Prochymal cells for acute graft versus host disease (GvHD) therapy, Gameda for expanded cord blood stem cells, Gentium for Defibrotide for the treatment of venoocclusive disease (VOD) and Chimerix for CMX001 treatment of double stranded DNA infections.  In addition to the oncologic protocols discussed above, we also treat hematologic non-malignant diseases such as thalassemia, sickle cell, aplastic anemia, metabolic disorders and immunodeficiency syndrome.  Most recently, in order to provide a comprehensive option for sickle cell patients across the region, we have opened our own investigator initiated protocol for the transplantation of patients with sickle cell using unrelated donors.

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