About the BMT
The Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program
The Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital is currently the only program in the world providing groundbreaking treatment for epidermolysis bullosa (EB), using a mixture of stem cells. EB is a condition that doctors previously considered untreatable, except for providing wound care and making the child as comfortable as possible.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been studying the use of stem cells to treat children with severe EB — in particular the recessive dystrophic and junctional forms of the disease. So far, the results have clearly demonstrated that stem cells from a healthy donor find their way (home) to the skin and secrete the protein that is missing in EB. For the patient, this can mean a substantial reduction in blistering and enhanced healing of the skin.
The University of Minnesota’s EB program is led by John E. Wagner, M.D., and Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., world-renowned experts in transplant medicine and EB-related clinical care and research. You can watch Dr. Tolar discuss the process here.
The EB program at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital includes expert health care providers from a variety of specialties. These include dermatology, infectious diseases, anesthesiology, pediatric surgery, gastroenterology, nephrology, nutrition, and pain management. Each of these University of Minnesota Physicians’ specialists is now experienced in the complex care required for patients with severe EB. Their expert multidisciplinary team makes every effort to ensure that the care they provide meets the unique needs of each patient and family.
The BMT Process
Overview of the BMT Transplant Process
- Finding a Donor and Harvesting Stem CellsThe medical team will look for a donor that is either a relative or from the National Marrow Donor Program or cord blood registries. Once a donor is identified, stem cells are harvested using one of three resources including bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood.
- Pre-Transplant EvaluationBefore the BMT process begins, your child will need to have a medical examination to evaluate their eligibility for transplant. Learn More
- Pre-Transplant ConferenceYou will meet with one of the transplant physicians to discuss your child’s workup evaluation results. Learn More
- Preparation for TreatmentThe preparatory regimen includes performing laboratory and diagnostic tests, along with the giving high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation. The purpose of high-dose chemotherapy and radiation is to destroy any remaining cancer and bone marrow cells, so the newly transplanted cells have room to grow. Learn More
- The TransplantDuring the transplant, stem cells that have been previously collected are given to the patient. The transplant itself is similar to a blood transfusion and takes about an hour or less. Learn More
After Transplant Care
- Post-TransplantDuring the weeks before the newly transplanted stem cells produce new blood cells, a patient’s body is unable to produce white blood cells, increasing his or her risk of infection. Patients are closely monitored and receive medications to prevent infection. They are also kept in protective isolation on the BMT unit. Learn More
- Going HomeThe child’s healthcare team will work with the family to determine when it is time for the child to leave the hospital. Learn More
- Long-Term CareOur staff, along with your primary physician will monitor your child’s health and well-being. Learn More
- Long-Term Follow-up ProgramThe University of Minnesota Blood and Marrow Transplant program has developed an extensive long-term follow up program to provide risk-based health care and surveillance to transplant survivors. Learn More