SCCA's Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program recognized for outstanding survival rates

The Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) has earned recognition by the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research for outperforming its expected one-year survival rates for allogeneic transplant patients - those who receive donated adult blood-forming stem cells. This recognition is held by only 17 of 173 stem cell transplant programs nationwide.

"We are pleased at this recognition for the work being done in Seattle, and to see the science pioneered at Fred Hutch helping thousands of patients each year is incredibly inspiring," said Dr. Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutch. "Across the nation, this is our hope as physicians, to see so many patients surviving at high rates."

This top ranking is reported in the 2015 Transplant Center-Specific Survival Report, published by the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. The report is based on survival outcomes gathered over a three-year period from the National Marrow Donor Program registry.

Stem cell transplantation uses blood-forming cells from a donor who may or may not be related to the patient. Stem cell transplants, including bone marrow transplants, are used to treat a range of leukemia and lymphoma types, as well as other diseases such as severe aplastic anemia and sickle cell disease.

The Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA pioneered the clinical use of bone marrow and stem cell transplantation more than 40 years ago and has performed more than 14,000 bone marrow transplants - more than any other institution in the world.

Comparing Transplant Centers
To arrive at its findings, CIBMTR independently examined the survival rates of 22,174 transplant patients treated for blood cancers at U.S. centers in the National Marrow Donor Program network. The most recent reporting period covered Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2013. During this three-year period, 801 allogeneic transplants were performed at SCCA. The report, published annually, is required by federal law and is designed to provide potential stem cell transplant recipients, their families and the public with comparative survival rates among transplant centers.

"Transplantation protocols have continued to evolve through clinical research. On the one hand, we have improved disease targeting thereby reducing relapse rates. On the other hand, we have reduced the toxicity of the transplant procedure and made strides in improving supportive care. Taken together, this has improved outcomes including survival for patients," said Dr. Marco Mielcarek, medical director of the Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA, and an associate member of the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutch. "The combined expertise of our transplant teams and support services ensures high-quality care and better-than-expected outcomes even for patients with a large burden of comorbid conditions," Dr. Mielcarek added.

Allogeneic transplants performed at SCCA are performed on an outpatient basis. Pioneered at Fred Hutch, these transplants use lower doses of chemotherapy and radiation and have extended transplantation to patients who are older or have additional medical complications.

Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation First Developed at Fred Hutch
Fred Hutch bone marrow and stem cell transplant pioneer Dr. E. Donnall Thomas won the Nobel Prize in 1990 for his lifesaving research. Many of the current SCCA and Fred Hutch transplantation experts, as well as clinicians and researchers at other transplant programs around the world, were trained by Thomas, including Dr. Fred Appelbaum. A world expert in blood cancers, Appelbaum is executive director and president of SCCA and executive vice president and deputy director of Fred Hutch.

"For the third year in a row, our transplant program provided our patients with a higher chance of survival as compared to the vast majority of transplant centers nationwide," said Appelbaum, who came to Fred Hutch in 1978 to work with Thomas to steadily improve the transplant process. "This reflects the outstanding work of SCCA and Fred Hutch researchers and staff, and we share this honor with them."

Over the past four decades, Fred Hutch researchers have not only pioneered transplantation as a cure for many diseases but also have continued to refine the procedure, which has been performed on more than 1 million people worldwide. These refinements include improvements in infection control and the development of new treatments for post-transplant complications. Today, more than 50,000 patients are transplanted annually, about 500 of whom are treated at SCCA, Fred Hutch's patient care arm.

SCCA's success in helping patients survive a wide range of cancers continues to be acknowledged by National Cancer Data Base rankings. SCCA has ranked at the top of these patient survival rankings since 2002. Additionally, SCCA is ranked among the top five Best Hospitals in the Nation for Adult Cancer Treatment by U.S. News & World Report for 2015-2016.


Seattle Cancer Care Alliance


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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