What is a Blood and Marrow or Bone Marrow Transplant?

During a blood and marrow transplant (BMT), also referred to as a bone marrow transplant, your child will receive healthy stem cells to help restore bone marrow stem cells that are damaged, missing or not working. A BMT is a treatment that takes place over weeks and months; it is not a surgery. The transplant cells are given intravenously (through a vein) like a blood transfusion.

At the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, our BMT Program is one of the largest in the nation. But, your child is more than a number to our team. Your child deserves outstanding care designed just for him. In fact, we believe your child deserves the best care possible.

What conditions are treated with BMT?

A BMT can be used to treat many types of malignant (cancerous) diseases and nonmalignant (noncancerous) diseases, such as:

  • Blood cancers: Leukemia and lymphoma
  • Solid tumor cancers: Neuroblastoma and certain brain tumors
  • Noncancerous blood and genetic disorders: Sickle cell disease, thalassemia, bone marrow failure (aplastic anemia, Fanconi anemia, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, myelodysplastic syndromes), phagocyte disorders, histiocyte disorders, immune deficiency syndromes (Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome), metabolic storage diseases (Hurler’s syndrome)
  • Immune dysregulation and immunodeficiency: Complex, multisystem autoimmune disorders that arise from an underlying defect in immune regulatory pathways

What are the different types of BMT?

The type of BMT your child needs depends on the disease being treated and who will give your child the best blood or bone marrow to treat his illness. Your doctor will discuss all your options with you before making any decisions.

  • An autologous transplant is when the patient donates their own blood or bone marrow stem cells. Blood or bone marrow is taken from your child and given back later after receiving very strong chemotherapy to treat a disease.
  • An allogeneic transplant is when the blood or bone marrow is taken from another person and given to your child. The donor could be a sibling, a parent or an anonymous matching donor. Finding a matching donor may take time.

Our Approach to BMT

As one of the top pediatric BMT programs in the country, we provide expertise in autologous and allogeneic transplants for a wide variety of cancers and disorders of the blood, immune system and metabolism. We are international leaders in BMT for sickle cell disease, as well as immune dysregulation and immune deficiency.

We provide a wide range of cutting-edge treatments, including gene therapy, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T therapy, haploidentical (half-matched donors), and novel approaches for the prevention and management of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Our patients having among the best survival rates in the country is a testament to our careful attention to family-centered care. In fact, we have consistently exceeded the predicted benchmark of survival for our mix of patients.

Highlights of our Blood and Marrow Transplant Program

  • The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is one of the largest pediatric blood and marrow transplant programs in the country, performing more than 92 lifesaving BMTs each year, one of the largest volumes in the country.
  • We have been recognized as a national leader in transplanting patients with sickle cell disease, curing more than 73 children.
  • Our 100-plus day survival rates are better than national average for autologous and allogeneic blood and marrow transplants.
  • We have a growing unique, multidisciplinary Immunohematology Program focused on curing immunodeficiencies and immune dysregulation through BMT.
  • We offer CAR-T cell therapy and cutting-edge treatment for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
  • We offer clinical trials for BMTs from half-matched related donors, thus making BMTs available to patients without a sibling or unrelated donors.

Learn more about BMT for sickle cell disease

Meet the Team

Our BMT team

Clinical faculty:

Research-intensive faculty:

Advanced Practice Providers:

  • Elyse Bryson, PA
  • Ginny Davis, PA
  • Deborah Lutterman, PNP
  • Ellen Olson, PNP
  • Katie Spencer, PNP
  • Kelly Landry, PNP
  • Laura Barlow, PNP
  • Lisa Berkenkamp, PNP
  • Sara Sharpless, PNP

Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) accreditation

Our BMT Program has been granted accreditation under the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) - Joint Accreditation Committee-ISCT and EBMT (JACIE) International Standards for Hematopoietic Cellular Therapy. We have successfully achieved re-accreditation through several three-year cycles, and now the accreditation also includes the Children's Apheresis Program as a FACT-accredited collection facility. Re- accreditation applies to all services and facilities inspected by FACT. These include pediatric allogeneic and autologous hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation; Immune effector cellular therapy; marrow cellular therapy product collection; Peripheral blood cellular therapy product collection; and Cellular therapy product processing with minimal manipulation. In addition, the accreditation includes contract services from peripheral blood cellular therapy product collection performed by the Emory University School of Medicine Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center, an independent FACT-accredited program. The FACT accreditation is a voluntary accreditation process that shows a commitment to continuous improvement in the quality of our BMT Program. FACT-accredited organizations must comply with international standards that are established by experts in the field of blood and marrow transplantation.