Stem Cell Transplantation Program

Stem Cell Transplantation Program

The Stem Cell Transplantation Program (SCT) at Columbia University Medical Center, New York Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the nation. Our team has extensive experience in stem cell transplantation to treat cancerous and non-cancerous conditions.

We are committed to improving outcomes by focusing our approach to the needs of each individual patient, and by working to ensure the safety and health of our patients through the process of stem cell transplantation.

What Makes Our Program Different

Leader in the Tri-State Area

Our SCT program is one of the largest in the Tri-State Area and has performed over 450 transplants. Patients come to our program from pediatric specialists within our own medical center, from other medical centers in and around New York, as well as from across the United States and around the world, including referrals from Canada, Central America, the Middle East, and West Africa.

APSpecialists in Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia

The Stem Cell Transplantation program for patients with sickle cell disease and thalassemia is the largest in the area, having performed over 60 transplants. The program boasts survival rates of 100% (as measured by overall and event free survival) in patients with sickle cell disease receiving sibling donor transplants. 

Our Faculty Are Leaders in the Field

Our faculty are actively involved in clinical trials and have published over 250 peer reviewed articles in top journals such as Nature, Blood, British Journal of Hematology, and Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Our stem cell transplantation program is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) for autologous transplantation (using one’s own stem cells), allogenic transplantation (using stem cells from a compatible donor), and umbilical cord blood transplantation. Our center is also a NYS certified Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID) program bringing referrals from other centers for patients diagnosed with SCID.

Superior Outcomes for Patients We Treat

The Stem Cell Transplantation program is above the national benchmark for quality measures such as 100-day mortality, incidence of graft versus host disease, overall survival, and disease free survival. We have outcomes superior to other programs in the metropolitan area as measured by our 1 year overall survival of 75% (vs. 64% at other programs.)

Our Approach to Care

Success Begins With Our Collective Expertise

We specialize in the two primary types of stem cell transplantation, allogeneic (stem cells from a donor) and autologous (one’s own stem cells) to treat a range of diseases.

Our patients receive state-of-the-art care from a multi-disciplinary team including nurses, social workers, child life specialists, pharmacists, nutritionists, and physical and occupational therapists. Our patients also have access to every pediatric physician from throughout our medical center, and their collective expertise in managing even the most critically ill children, throughout the entire transplant process.

New Approaches To Maximize Success in Stem Cell Transplantation

We have pioneered a new and unique reduced-intensity approach to stem cell transplantation, in which we give low doses of chemotherapy and immune therapy to ensure that the body allows the new stem cells to be successfully transplanted, while making sure the patient is exposed to as little of the medicine and side effects as possible.

Comprehensive Supportive Care After Transplantation

We offer supportive therapies, including investigational therapies not available elsewhere, to treat or prevent the possible complications of stem cell transplantation, including:

  • Photophoresis, a process through which the blood is treated with ultraviolet light, to treat graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the transplanted cells
  • Removal of T-cells, which are immune system cells that can contribute to GVHD, from the stem cell product prior to recipient infusion
  • Use of defibrotide, a medicine which is used to control a complication of stem cell transplantation that sometimes occurs called veno-occlusive disease, which can cause severe liver damage if left unmanaged
  • Infusions of mesenchymal stem cells, a special kind of cell found in adult bone marrow, to repair tissues damaged by GVHD

Our Pediatric Intensive Care allows us to provide the latest innovations in intensive supportive measures, if needed, such as ventilator support, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a process through which machines help circulate and oxygenate the blood, and left ventricular assist device (LVAD) support, in which mechanical assistance helps the heart pump blood.

Throughout the process of stem cell transplantation, the Stem Cell Transplantation Program is there to provide expert care, innovative approaches to treatment, and extensive support, with an eye to successful procedures and healthy outcomes for our patients.