Stem Cell Transplants: Offering Hope in Blood Cancer Treatment

When we explain the transplant process, the
testing that we might need to do with the transplant, what the transplant admission
is like and what the recovery period is like so that the patient and their family can be
well prepared and informed. And I also call the referring physician while
the patient is there for the appointment so that we can have good communication with all
of their caregivers. In the U.S., only about 30 percent of patients
actually have a donor in their family. So my area of expertise is finding donors
whether that’s through the registry, whether it’s a family member that’s not a perfect
match or using blood that’s thrown out after a woman has a baby but can be saved and used
also for transplant. I evaluate them for stem cell transplant and
determine whether or not they’re candidates for that potentially curative therapy. It depends on their disease type, but transplant
patients may have up to a 50 percent chance of being cured of their cancers from a stem
cell transplant. I believe that the University of Virginia
offers that teamwide multidisciplinary approach. We’re not satisfied with just
maintaining the status quo. We always want to do better. We’re always improving upon what was done
yesterday. And we’re doing this together not only by
myself but definitely with the team that I work with day in and day out. Developing a program here with our haematology
oncology group and with the UVA Cancer Center. It’s been just a passion of everyone who works
here to deliver that care and get the most effective treatments to our patients as quickly
and effectively as possible. Our transplant team includes many different
specialties including social work, our transplant coordinators, a physician and nurse practitioners. So it’s really a team effort when you come
in to meet us for the first time.

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