Revolutionary Bone Marrow Transplantation Procedure Inaugurated At Yale Cancer Center

December 05, 1997

(NEW HAVEN) -- A new form of bone marrow and stem cell transplantation between partially-mismatched, related donors -- Haplotype MisMatch Transplants -- will soon be available at the Yale Cancer Center. The revolutionary technique, which allows transplants between parents, siblings or children, is opening up lifesaving transplant opportunities to many more patients than traditional transplants among unrelated donors.

Joseph McGuirk, M.D., whose area of expertise is Haplotype MisMatch Transplants, has been named the new assistant director for Allogeneic Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation at the Cancer Center. He came to Yale from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, where he worked closely with the world's foremost expert in the field, Jeanne Hensely-Downey, M.D.

Allogeneic transplants are those in which the bone marrow or stems cells come from a donor other than the patient. The procedure is used commonly in treating leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and other diseases of the bone marrow-forming cells. While the best source for a transplant is a brother or sister whose human leukocyte antigens (HLA) are a perfect match, only about 30 percent of all patients are fortunate enough to have an identical match.

Traditionally, the remaining 70 percent of patients have turned to the unrelated donor program, a system in which bone marrow recipients are matched with donors from throughout the world. Although a viable option for many patients, the program has two major drawbacks. First, it usually takes a several month period to locate a suitable donor and retrieve the bone marrow. "Most leukemia patients can't wait that long," said McGuirk. Secondly, minorities are very underrepresented in the unrelated donor pool, resulting in a lower probability of finding a match among those populations.

Haplotype MisMatch, or partially mismatched, donor-related bone marrow transplants, may help overcome those obstacles. "By using family members whose HLAs are partially mismatched, there are more readily available donors," noted McGuirk. "This opens up bone marrow transplantation to almost everyone with a living parent, sibling or child."

More than 350 such transplants have been done in the past four years with amazing results. "High risk patients with multiple relapsed leukemia have demonstrated that they can be cured," said McGuirk. "They can do well long-term."

The Yale Cancer Center is one of only a handful of places in the country prepared to perform the procedure; the first is expected to take place here within six months. McGuirk sees the program as the beginning of something big: "Partially mismatched, donor related transplantation is now expanding very quickly into the world community," he said. "With Yale's strong immunology department as a backdrop, we are in a position to become a world leader in this field. We can now offer something special to patients across the country."

Albert Deissroth, M.D. associate director for clinical research at the Cancer Center hailed the recruitment of McGuirk as a tremendous plus for the entire Allogeneic Transplant Program. "This is a very exciting and rapidly expanding area of bone marrow transplantation," he said. "It offers new opportunities to patients who previously had nowhere else to turn."

The Yale Cancer Center is one of 31 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute and the only one in Southern New England. Bringing together the resources of Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Yale University School of Medicine, its mission encompasses patient care, research, cancer prevention and control, community outreach and education. The Cancer Information Service, a Yale Cancer Center program funded by the National Cancer Institute, provides up-to-date information on cancer prevention, detection and treatment. Trained cancer information specialists are available to answer questions Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).


Yale Cancer Center

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to