Bone marrow transplant: Approach to Care

The Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at UF Health is comprised of a specialized, comprehensive team that is available to assist you with your care throughout your transplant experience.  The Program began in 1981 and is the state’s longest established transplant program.  We have performed more than 2000 transplants for both adults and pediatrics for diseases such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, lymphomas, neuroblastoma, myelodysplastic syndromes, testicular cancer, aplastic anemia, certain genetic disorders and immunodeficiency syndromes.

The Blood and Marrow Transplant Program is part of the UF Health Shands Cancer Center, an interdisciplinary initiative connecting clinicians and scientists who perform original scientific research as well as conduct research protocols to enhance strategies for the diagnoses, treatment and prevention of cancer.  You may be invited to participate in clinical trials which offer new tests or treatments that are appropriate for your disease.

UF Health is the first site in Florida to offer "mini" transplants. Such non-myeloablative transplants use less intensive conditioning regimens and are an alternative for thousands of cancer patients either too old or too ill to withstand transplantation using approaches that employ high doses of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. 

Medical Firsts

  • 2000 Florida's first pediatric placenta/umbilical cord blood transplant for sickle cell anemia
  • 1997 Florida's first mini bone marrow transplant for lymphoma
  • 1996 Florida's first adult placenta/umbilical cord blood transplant for leukemia
  • 1995 Florida's first pediatric placenta/umbilical cord blood transplant for leukemia
  • 1995 Nation's third and Southeast's first placenta/umbilical cord blood bank 
  • 1983 Florida's first pediatric bone marrow transplant

Additional facts about the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at UF Health ShandsHospital and the UF Health Shands Cancer Center:

  • Accredited hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) center (with more than 2,000 transplants)
  • Large experience in stem cell collection, processing and cryopreservation
  • Core center for two National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) networks: Blood &Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (2007-2011) 
  • Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (2007-2012)
  • National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) collection and transplant center
  • Member of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant (CIBMT)
  • National Institute for Health (NIH) funded programs in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine research

Multidisciplinary Treatment Team 

Our multidisciplinary treatment team consists of experienced University of Florida transplant physicians, RN transplant coordinators, physician assistants, registered nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and support staff. Our interdisciplinary team meets weekly to carefully review patient information and develop the best possible treatment plan for each individual.  Our team works together to provide a comprehensive evaluation and determine the best course of treatment available. To augment the services of our multidisciplinary team, our patients benefit from numerous services including:

  • Dental services
  • Radiation therapy
  • Interventional radiology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Pathology
  • Radiology
  • Clinical trial enrollment
  • Psychosocial support
  • Patient educators and resources
  • Spiritual guidance
  • Support groups

Comprehensive Patient Care

A pre-transplant evaluation with all tests done at UF Health usually takes three to five days to complete.  You will undergo pre-BMT evaluation and counseling before you are admitted to the UF Health BMT unit.  Your BMT evaluation typically consists of the following:

  • Medical evaluation
  • Dental evaluation
  • Radiation Therapy consultation (if necessary)
  • BMT education class
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Psychosocial evaluation (meeting with BMT social worker)
  • Evaluation by a physician who will place your central venous catheter (CVL)
  • Meeting with a protocol nurse to review consents and optional research protocols
  • Review of the test results with your BMT physician and signing of informed consent