Umbilical cord blood transplants, bone marrow transplants save lives

MAYWOOD, Ill. Umbilical cord blood and bone marrow transplants at Loyola University are curing or slowing the progression of many cancers originating in the bone marrow (i.e., leukemia, myeloma) or lymphatic system (lymphoma).

More than 106,000 people in the U.S. each year are diagnosed with these life-threatening diseases.

"Even if other treatments have produced no results, a bone marrow transplant may save the patient's life," said Dr. Patrick J. Stiff, director of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center and the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Ill. Patients unable to find a matching bone marrow donor may have an alternative with umbilical cord blood (CB) transplantation.

Loyola's unique method of preparing the umbilical cord blood enables more stem cells to survive, according to Stiff, who also is professor of Medicine and Pathology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

A transplant provides the patient with healthy, new stem cells to develop a new immune system. And it's working.

Holly Drucker, 30, of Chicago's north side; Adam McGillen, 25, of Sandwich, Ill.; Moira Minielly, 39, of Wilmette, Ill.; and Donna Marasco, 45, of Bolingbrook, Ill., were dying of cancer when they arrived at Loyola's Cardinal Bernadin Cancer Center during the past six years. At Loyola, Holly and Adam underwent umbilical cord blood transplant for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Moira, diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and Donna, with chronic myelogenous leukemia, underwent bone marrow transplant at Loyola. Today all four are leading productive, happy lives.

Loyola has the largest bone marrow transplantation program in the Midwest, performing 160 transplants each year. It is a participating center in the National Marrow Donor Program network.

The latest statistics from the National Marrow Donor Program Network show the actual one-year patient su

Contact: Joanne Swanson
Loyola University Health System

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