Blood & Marrow Stem Cell Transplantation: Transplantation at Memorial Sloan Kettering

Pictured: James Young, Juliet Barker, & Ann Jakubowski Memorial Sloan Kettering's stem cell transplantation program — the longest-standing such program nationally — includes (from left) James Young, Juliet Barker, and Ann Jakubowski.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center physicians have performed more than 4,000 autologous and allogeneic transplants over three decades and oversee transplants in close to 400 patients each year. Because of the expertise of our transplant team, our patients often have excellent results. Our one-year survival rate for allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is the best in the tri-state region, according to results of an independent study conducted by the US National Marrow Donor Program.  

Since 1973, when Memorial Sloan Kettering physicians performed the world's first successful transplant between a patient and an unrelated donor, our investigators have been at the forefront of research in stem cell transplantation and pioneered many of the approaches widely used today.

Our physicians and laboratory researchers who specialize in stem cell transplantation continually strive to improve the outcomes of patients who undergo transplants, to modify the procedure to reduce the possibility of complications, and to make transplants available to more people who could benefit.

Our Approach and Expertise

At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we understand that each patient's situation is different, and that for many the prospect of a transplant can be overwhelming, as can the complications of the underlying disease. For that reason, we offer a broad range of resources — before, during, and after transplantation — to help each patient and his or her family meet these challenges.

Our transplant physicians and highly skilled nurses and nurse practitioners work as a team with immunologists, gastroenterologists, kidney specialists, radiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to provide each patient with the best care possible, and address all aspects of physical and psychological well-being.

Patients undergoing transplantation at Memorial Sloan Kettering are cared for by specialists who are experts in this procedure and its possible complications, and have access to the leading-edge methods developed through collaborative efforts between clinicians and investigators in our laboratories.

Some of the widely adopted transplantation milestones achieved by our transplant team include:

  • Immune cell (T cell) depletion, a method to prevent graft-versus-host disease
  • The use of escalating doses of immune cells to prevent or treat relapses in transplanted patients with multiple myeloma or chronic myelogenous leukemia
  • Hyperfractionated irradiation, a method of delivering radiation therapy that increases its anticancer effects while decreasing its side effects
  • Improved methods to detect opportunistic infections in immune-compromised transplant patients
  • Reduced-intensity chemotherapy regimens to safely treat older and sicker patients
  • New regimens for cord blood transplantation

Our physicians offer each patient the transplantation approach most likely to result in a cure or improved survival. When there is a good chance for a better outcome, our doctors may suggest that a patient participate in a clinical trial — and many patients who undergo transplantation at Memorial Sloan Kettering decide to do so.

Learn more about the types of transplantation we perform and the research advances we have pioneered.