Allogeneic stem cell transplantation is a curative treatment for some patients with life-threatening blood diseases and blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. In this form of transplantation, stem cells are collected from a healthy related or unrelated donor with a closely matched human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type to suppress disease and restore a patient’s immune system.
The success of each transplant is largely determined by the skill of the nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals who make up a transplant team – but many other factors can also influence outcomes. Among the most important considerations are the patient’s general health and “fitness” to undergo the procedure, the severity of his or her disease, and the closeness of the donor match.
Each year, the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) conducts a comparative analysis of outcomes data for all United States transplant centers performing allogenic transplants. Because transplant centers vary considerably in the risk level of cases treated, the CIBMTR assigns a predicted one-year survival rate for each center’s patients to adjust for risk factors known or suspected to influence outcomes. Risk factors considered include diagnosis and disease status/stage, coexisting disease, donor type (HLA-matched sibling vs other related donor vs unrelated donor), recipient and donor age, and more.
Some bone marrow and stem cell transplant centers achieve outstanding overall outcomes in part by focusing on treating less complex patient cases. Young patients without advanced disease, for example, will typically be assigned very good predicted one-year survival outcomes, which the transplant center can help bring to fruition. Patients at transplant centers that accept more challenging cases, such as elderly people with coexisting disease, will be assigned poorer predicted one-year survival outcomes.
In the CIBMTR’s 2018 Transplant Center-Specific Survival Report, the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital had the highest patient severity score (worst predicted outcomes) among similarly-sized U.S. centers in good standing. Still, our overall outcomes are excellent.
Our team utilizes a personalized approach to care, ensuring that each treatment regimen is narrowly tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual patient who comes through our center. We take great pride in our capacity to lead all types of blood cancer patients – even those with the most severe disease – toward positive health outcomes.