Elizabeth fought leukemia and, with MUSC Children's help, she won.
Our excellent standard of care and innovative therapeutic options offer hope to children throughout the state and the Southeast.
We have cutting-edge clinical trials through the Children's Oncology Group (COG), the Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium Clinical Trials Network (BMT-CTN), the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC), as well as other specialized investigator-initiated trials.
We offer all types of transplant options, including autologous transplants and allogeneic transplants with matched related donors, matched and mismatched unrelated donors, umbilical cord blood, or haploidentical donors. We also offer gene therapy for select diseases.
The MUSC Children's Health Transplant programs have been designated as Cigna Programs of Excellence from the 2016 Cigna Lifesource Transplant Network Quality Survey of Transplant Programs.
The Blood & Marrow Transplant team was awarded Press Ganey’s 2018 Team of the Year Award for its demonstration of outstanding care coordination and teamwork in pursuit of delivering safe, high-quality, compassionate care.
In addition to a thorough physical exam and testing, patients undergo Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing to determine if the make-up of their immune system’s cells. This is necessary to ensure that their cells are compatible with a donor’s cells. If the recipient’s HLA type is different from the donor’s, the recipient’s immune system may see the new bone marrow as foreign and may attack or reject it. Or, the donor’s bone marrow may see the recipient’s as foreign and attack body cells.
Along with HLA typing, blood and marrow transplant patients will undergo many tests, which may include the following:
Following the return home, patients increase the chances of their transplant being successful by:
Patients receive blood and marrow transplants from donors who have undergone tests for the closest possible tissue match. If a suitable related donor is not available, an acceptable donor may be found through the National Marrow Donor Program or by using a haploidentical related donor.
The procedure to collect donated bone marrow or stem cells is called the harvest. This is a surgical procedure that takes place in the operating room. On the day of the harvest, the donor is admitted to the hospital and given anesthesia. Once the donor is anesthetized, the bone marrow transplant physician inserts a needle into the donor’s rear hipbone where a large quantity of bone marrow is located. He or she extracts the bone marrow – a thick red liquid – with a needle and syringe. The harvested bone marrow is then processed to remove impurities and either taken directly to the receiving patient or stored for later use.
While the donor may have several skin punctures during the harvest, there are no surgical incisions requiring stitches. After the harvest, a sterile dressing is applied and the donor is moved to a recovery area where he or she can be closely monitored until the anesthesia wears off. Donors may receive an infusion of their own blood after the harvest. The donor may return home that day or stay overnight in the hospital if necessary.
Following the harvest, donors may feel some discomfort in their lower back for several days. This can usually be controlled with acetaminophen. Some donors also feel fatigued after the harvest. Most are able to resume normal activities within a few days.
Blood stem cells can be collected from the blood stream without general anesthesia. This procedure is called a stem cell harvest, or peripheral blood stem cell harvest.
Prior to the harvest, donors receive daily injections of filgrastim for three to five days. Filgrastim (also called G-CSF or Neupogen®) is a man-made version of protein that occurs naturally in the body. It causes blood stem cells to move out of the bone marrow into the bloodstream.
During the harvest, the donor has needles inserted into each arm. Blood passes through one of the needles into a tube that is connected to an apheresis machine. This machine removes the stem cells and returns the remaining blood back to the donor via a tube connected to the needle in the other arm. The procedure takes three to four hours and two sessions may be required.
The stem cell harvest is relatively painless and generally without lasting side effects.
Maribeth Harrison, RN, MBA | Nurse Manager, Specialty in Apheresis
Rainee Johnson, RN | Quality Manager, Specialty in Apheresis
Julia Heh, Pharm | Pharmacy Coordinator
Omar Moussa, Ph.D. | HLA Laboratory Director
Sheree Waslaske, BS, CHS, HLA | HLA Laboratory Manager/Technical Coordinator
Lori Donahoo, PNP
Cindy Kramer, RN, BSN, OCN | Lead BMT Transplant Coordinator
Colleen Butcher, RN, BSN, OCN
Melinda Cone, RN, BSN
Leah Judd, RN, BSN
Stacy Warneke, RN, BSN
Hailey Thigpen | Pediatric Dietitian
Elizabeth Williams, CQIA | Quality Manager
Kathleen Prudhomme | Financial Coordinator
Agatha Bellevue | Case Manager
Tiombe Plair, MSW | Social Worker
Catherine Mattox | Social Worker
Michelle Vandermass, MS, CCLS | Child Life Specialist
One of the first children in the country to have genomic screening as part of her treatment, Victoria is helping her doctors identify better treatments for neuroblastoma.