Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at the Cancer Center

Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric BMT

How many pediatric blood marrow transplants have you performed?

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program has performed more than 1,200 transplants since the program was established in 1976.

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Who will be taking care of my child?

Because pediatric blood and marrow transplant is a complex procedure, it is extremely important to have an experienced team caring for your child and we have among the best. Our team includes BMT physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, an unrelated donor search coordinator, child life specialists, and physical and occupational therapists. A BMT physician is on call every day and will see your child each day that he or she is in the hospital.

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What is your transplant facility like?

Our unit has 11 beds; we also have a playroom devoted exclusively to pediatric BMT patients.

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Do you have special precautions to help prevent infection?

Yes. We have a special air-handling system called HEPA filtration that helps prevent fungus; this will help prevent infection.

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May I stay with my child overnight?

Yes, a parent or another relative may stay overnight with the child.

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For which diseases do you do blood marrow transplants?

We perform allogeneic transplants (using donors other than the patient) for:

We perform autologous transplants (using a patient’s own blood-making cells) for:

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Can you do apheresis?

Yes. We have on-site apheresis available and can do this for babies as small as 11 pounds. If your child has had stem cells collected at another center, we can have them shipped to our Stem Cell Laboratory.

In apheresis, the patient's blood is passed through a machine that removes the stem cells (immature cells from which all blood cells develop); it is then returned to the body. It usually takes three or four hours over one or more days to complete. The stem cells may be treated to eliminate any cancer cells and, with an autologous transplant, they are frozen until they are transplanted back to the patient. When using an unrelated or mismatched related donor, we use a method called Partial T Cell Depletion to eliminate most of the cells that cause graft vs. host disease.

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My child needs an allogeneic transplant. What are the options for a donor?

We have performed more than 580 allogeneic transplants (the type of transplant where blood stem cells are provided by a donor and infused into the patient) and have much experience in locating donors. Your child's donor may be:

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How long will my child be in the hospital?

Most of our patients are in the hospital for three to four weeks after the transplant.

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Can he or she go home after being discharged?

If your child has had an autologous transplant, he or she will be discharged to the referring doctor and home. If your child had an allogeneic transplant, he or she may also be be discharged to home if you live within a one-and-a-half-hour driving distance. If you live further away, you may need to stay in the Ronald McDonald House for one to three months.

You will need to return to the BMT clinic with your child one to two times a week for three months for follow-up. We transition most patients to their referring doctors after three to six months. Your child will need to return to the BMT clinic yearly for a comprehensive health evaluation.

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Appointments

To make an appointment with a Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant physician, please call

1-877-ORGAN50

To arrange a second opinion consultation at the Cancer Center for your child, please call Megan Atkinson at

215-590-2820