Children's Hospital Colorado
Center for cancer and blood disorders
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Center for cancer and blood disorders

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The Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program

Bone Marrow Transplant Program

Established in 1994, the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's Hospital Colorado offers the region's most experienced dedicated pediatric blood and marrow transplant and cellular therapy (BMT) program. We have performed more than 1,000 bone marrow transplants and in 2019 we are celebrating our Program's 25th Anniversary, making us one of the most experienced pediatric BMT programs in the country.

Our BMT Program has been accredited by the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) since 2001. This certification is based on patient volumes, qualified staff, appropriate facilities and having a comprehensive quality assurance program that meets current national FACT standards. The standards indicate that our transplant team has been consistently recognized through national peer review for high-quality patient care and laboratory performance for bone marrow transplant.

With providers who specialize only in pediatric bone marrow transplants and cellular therapy, your child is in good hands. Our program is also an approved transplant site of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), the Children's Oncology Group (COG) and the Pediatric BMT Consortium.

Why choose Children's Colorado for your child's bone marrow transplant or cellular therapy?

97% 100-day survival rate for bone marrow transplants (2014-2016)
1,000+ Bone marrow transplants performed
25+ Years of pediatric bone marrow transplant experience

Excellent bone marrow transplant outcomes

The International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry, the NMDP and U.S. News and World Report recognize Children's Colorado as meeting the highest standards of 100-day and one-year post-BMT survival compared to other U.S. pediatric BMT programs. See our BMT survival rates.

Cutting-edge cellular therapy

Our pediatric specialists offer a range of cellular therapy options, including chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells and virus-directed T cells. T cells are a type of white blood cell that develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. They help fight infection and may help fight cancer.

CAR-T cells: For this cellular therapy, our providers draw blood from a patient and collect their T cells. Next, using a non-contagious virus, we genetically engineer T cells to make CAR proteins on the T cell surface. These CAR-T cells are capable of recognizing certain cancer cells. The CAR-T cells are then infused back into the patient and attach to specific proteins on the surface of cancer cells. The CAR then triggers the T cells to kill the cancer cell.

Virus-directed T cells: After a bone marrow transplant, it takes a while for the new immune system to recognize and kill cells that are infected with certain viruses. Often, viruses from the herpes family, which are known to cause diseases such as mono, upper respiratory tract infections, cold sores and roseola, never fully go away after the first infection. Rather, the immune system keeps them at bay. When the immune system is low (or absent, as is the case after a bone marrow transplant), these viruses can cause large-scale infections. Similar to the development of CAR-T cells, we engineer T cells from the blood of the patient (or a donor) to produce a receptor protein that recognizes the virus-infected cells and kills them.

Specialized BMT care for teenagers and young adults

Research has shown that teens and young adults with cancer do better when treated on pediatric protocols and in a pediatric setting. Stem cell sources and therapy regimens often differ between adult and pediatric institutions and may affect outcomes. Additionally, pediatric oncologists and bone marrow transplant specialists are more experienced with managing any potential long-term complications after therapy.

Collaboration with referring providers

Our team members are committed to providing excellent service to patients and providers through an efficient call-back and evaluation for urgent referrals. Streamlined communication occurs before, during and after transplantation. Get more information for healthcare professionals.

What does our Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program offer?

Our multidisciplinary BMT program includes:

  • Consultation, evaluation, treatment and follow-up care
  • BMT-trained pediatric physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants
  • Board-certified pediatricians and pediatric hematologists/oncologists
  • A pediatric radiation oncologist
  • Dedicated, BMT-trained nursing staff
  • A pediatric pharmacist
  • A HEPA-filtered, positive pressure inpatient BMT unit
  • Trained BMT coordinators to organize allogeneic donor selection and pre-BMT evaluation
  • BMT-specific outpatient team and clinic services
  • Fertility preservations services
  • Palliative care services
  • Technology and on-site facilities to procure and process stem cells from marrow, peripheral blood and cord blood
  • Availability of both autologous (a patient's own stem cells) and allogeneic (donor stem cells) transplant methods and expertise
  • Numerous state-of-the-art local and national clinical trials in pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant
  • A Children's Oncology Group (COG) Transplant Center
  • A National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Transplant Center
  • Access to all unrelated donor registries (NMDP, Caitlin Raymond International, Cord Blood)
  • Treatment of patients from birth to 26 years old

Support services for your family

Our program offers a full range of support services for patients and families, including:

  • Patient and family support from social workers, clinical psychologists, recreational therapists, child life specialists, pastoral care and others
  • BMT patient and family resources to help you better understand what to expect
  • A financial coordinator to assist physicians and families with financial approval
  • Established contracts for transplant care with numerous insurers
  • Access to private apartments at Brent's Place, a safe, clean housing facility specifically designed for immune-compromised patients that is located near the hospital
  • A Spanish-speaking care team and foreign language translators to facilitate communication and understanding of treatment plans as well as improve medical compliance
  • Comprehensive late-effects and survivorship services designed to help young patients lead healthier lives post-transplant

Pediatric bone marrow transplantation and cellular therapy research and innovation

Members of our team are actively involved in pediatric bone marrow transplant and cellular therapy research with the goal of improving outcomes in children. Our team performed its first cord blood transplant in 1996, early in the investigation of this now common stem cell source. Today, our ongoing research projects focus on optimizing the success of BMT for many pediatric disorders.

Read about Dr. Verneris' research on using immunity to cure cancer.