June 7, 2010

3,000th transplant marks milestone

Winship Cancer Institute and Emory University Hospital set a new record on May 20, conducting Emory’s 3,000th bone marrow transplant. To date, no other facility in Georgia has accomplished this.

“This is a significant milestone for Emory University Hospital,” says Robert Bachman, chief operating officer. “Thousands of people have benefitted from Emory’s contributions to advancing this life-saving procedure.”

During a transplant, healthy marrow is withdrawn by inserting a needle into a donor’s hip bone and then injecting it into the body of the patient, where stem cells develop into healthy red blood cells. By replacing diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow, doctors are able to regenerate the critical function performed by blood cells. 

Emory’s first bone marrow transplant was conducted in 1979 by Elliott Winton, associate professor of hematology and medical oncology at Winship. In the 31 years since that first transplant, Winton and the BMT team at Winship have made considerable contributions to continuing development of this process.

“Our participation in national, international and institutional clinical trials assures that we offer patients the latest knowledge in stem cell biology and transplant immunology,” says Edmund Waller, director of Emory’s Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center.

Currently, Emory physicians are testing whether combining kidney transplants with bone marrow transplants from the same donor reduces the possibility of immune system rejection.

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