Transplant Program at Baylor Sammons Cancer Center Passes Significant Milestone

Jan 28, 2010, 15:29 ET from Baylor Health Care System

DALLAS, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Providing blood and marrow transplantation for older patients; using a broader range of donors than ever before and participating in innovative clinical trials are just a few of the advances made by the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas. Physicians with the program recently performed the program's 4,000th transplant. Passing this milestone places the program among the top 10 centers in the nation in terms of patient volume and experience. In addition, physicians with the program have performed more than double the cases of any other center in North Texas.

"We have made significant advances in blood and marrow transplantation since opening the program 27 years ago and performing our first transplant," said Edward Agura, M.D., hematologist/oncologist and medical director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the Baylor Sammons Cancer Center. "We take pride in helping patients who often come to us scared, overwhelmed and very sick, to come to a point of hope and health."

The Only Comprehensive Program in Texas

Founded in 1982 at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Baylor Sammons Cancer Center's Blood and Marrow Transplant Program is one of only eight programs in the nation and the only program in Texas to offer all four components of the National Marrow Donor Program: donor center, bone marrow collection center, peripheral blood apheresis collection center and transplant center.

Physicians who participate in the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program treat a wide range of blood and marrow diseases, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma and marrow failure states. Patients in the program also receive care from nurses, dietitians, case managers, social workers, consultation with other physicians in subspecialty areas, and patient education and psychosocial support experts. The program also offers patients the opportunity to participate in research focusing on medical advances that directly affect them, whether through a more effective treatment or a faster recovery.

"Our Blood and Marrow Transplant Program is comprehensive, bringing together quality physicians, advanced treatments and practical research to provide quality care for our patients," said Alan Miller, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of Baylor Sammons Cancer Center. "With a track record of performing 4,000 transplants, we have the insight that only experience can provide."

Facilities at Baylor Sammons Cancer Center for transplant patients include 22 outpatient infusion beds, a transplant pharmacy and an apheresis lab. The inpatient transplant unit features 25 dedicated blood and marrow transplant patient rooms.

Gaining Strength

Baylor Sammons Cancer Center's focus on research was strengthened in October when the center became a full member of one of the largest cancer clinical trial cooperative groups in the United States. Funded by research grants from the National Cancer Institute, Southwest Oncology Group conducts clinical trials to prevent and treat cancer in adults, and to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors.

"Joining this prestigious group allows us to offer additional, important clinical trials to cancer patients in North Texas," said Dr. Miller.

The Blood and Marrow Transplant Program will also be bolstered by Baylor Sammons Cancer Center's new outpatient center, scheduled to open in early 2011, and new dedicated cancer hospital, scheduled to open in 2013. The new outpatient cancer center will be the largest in North Texas.

Leaders of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program are committed to reaching additional patients in the future.

"Currently, our estimates show that only 10 percent of people in our geographic area who might benefit from blood or marrow transplantation actually receive it," said Dr. Agura. "If we could get that number to 20 percent, we would be making progress."

About Baylor Dallas

Baylor Dallas, a 1,025-bed not-for-profit academic hospital, is a major patient care and research center in the southwest. The nationally acclaimed medical center serves as flagship hospital for Baylor Health Care System and has earned Magnet status for "Excellence in Nursing Services" from the American Nurses Credentialing Center -- the organization's highest level of recognition. In addition to its Level 1 trauma center, Baylor Dallas is also home to many nationally ranked centers of excellence including Transplant, cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology services, digestive diseases, neurosciences and gynecology. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report recognized Baylor Dallas for the 17th consecutive year in its "America's Best Hospitals" guide.


Blood and Marrow Transplant: Fact and Fiction

  • Fiction: You need an exact donor match to receive a blood and marrow transplant.
  • FACT: Improvements in testing for matches is allowing physicians to use a broader range of donors than before.
  • Fiction: Blood and marrow transplantation is only for young people.
  • FACT: This may have been true in the past, but today, improvements in supportive care and newer regimens are allowing patients well into their 70s and even 80s to be considered for blood and marrow transplantation. Patients previously considered too old or frail for conventional transplants now qualify for nonablative (less invasive) procedures, which extends the potential for a cure to a larger group.
  • Fiction: Blood and marrow transplantation should be considered only after cancer recurs.
  • FACT: For many hematologic malignancies, the best chance of a cure is transplant as early in the care plan as possible.

SOURCE Baylor Health Care System