Jaap-Jan Boelens, MD, PhD

Pediatric Hematologic Oncologist

Chief of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cell Therapy Service

Conditions Treated

Memorial Sloan Kettering pediatric hematologic oncologist Jaap-Jan Boelens
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About Me

I am a pediatric hematologic oncologist and Chief of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cell Therapy Service. I specialize in bone marrow and cord blood transplantation to treat blood diseases in children and young adults. I have particular expertise in treating rare diseases, such as lysosomal storage disorders. I am also part of a dedicated community of experts who are working to develop new treatment strategies for our young patients. Our goal is to be able to better control their disease while improving their well-being, as well as that of their families.

Before coming to Memorial Sloan Kettering in 2018, I spent a decade developing a cord blood transplant program in the Netherlands. This program is now the largest in Europe. Cord blood transplants are important because they offer a promising treatment for people who don’t have a suitable bone marrow match. I am continuing to build on this work by looking for ways to incorporate cellular therapies with transplants. My goal is to offer an even greater chance of eliminating disease while also making less of an impact on patients’ quality of life.

My research in the lab is fueled by my passion to help young people with blood disorders lead long and healthy lives. We are currently working to develop advanced therapies made from cord blood that will target blood disorders at the cellular level. We are also creating mathematical models that can help us predict how a young person’s immune system will respond to receiving treatments like this. By taking a holistic look at both treatment and response, I want to take discoveries out of the lab and to the bedside to help my patients.

When I meet with patients and their families, they are often dealing with a lot of uncertainties. They have been given a life-changing diagnosis and are facing questions about treatment, complications, prognosis, and how all of this will impact their family. I guide patients and families through these unknowns by giving them time and space to ask questions and process information. My communication policy is to be completely open and honest so that my patients feel heard, respected, and cared for. We’ll spend as much time together as necessary to make sure this happens.

Outside of the hospital, I enjoy cooking, cycling, and traveling with my family to such places as Africa, Asia, and South America.

  • Clinical Expertise: Cord Blood-Derived Cell Therapies; Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation; Rare Pediatric Blood Diseases; Lysosomal Storage Diseases; Immune-Reconstitution; Pharmaco-Kinetics/Dynamics
  • Awards and Honors: Swammerdam Prize for Innovation in Cell Therapy/Oncology, The Dutch Society of Hematology (2015)
  • Languages Spoken: English; Dutch
  • Education: MD, University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands; PhD, University of Amsterdam/Academic Medical Center
  • Residencies: Pediatrics - Leiden University Medical Center/Juliana Kinderziekenhuis, Leiden, The Hague, Netherlands
  • Fellowships: Immunology – University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands; Oncology – Erasmus University Medical Center, Netherlands
  • Board Certifications: Pediatrics; Oncology (Netherlands)

See My Colleagues


Admiraal R, Nierkens S, de Witte MA, Petersen EJ, Fleurke GJ, Verrest L, Belitser SV, Bredius RG, Raymakers RA, Knibbe CA, Minnema MC, van Kesteren C, Kuball J, Boelens JJ. Association between anti-thymocyte globulin exposure and survival outcomes in adult unrelated haemopoietic cell transplantation: a retrospective, pharmacodynamic cohort analysis. Lancet Haematol. 2017 Apr;4(4):e183-e191. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3026(17)30029-7

Admiraal R, de Koning C, Lindemans CA, Bierings MB, Wensing AM, Versluys AB, Wolfs TF, Nierkens S, Boelens JJ. Viral Reactivations and Associated Outcomes in Context of Immune Reconstitution after Pediatric Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2017 Apr 6. pii: S0091-6749(17)30571-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.12.992.

Admiraal R, Lindemans CA, van Kesteren C, Bierings MB, Versluys AB, Nierkens S, Boelens JJ. Excellent T-cell reconstitution and survival provided ATG exposure is low or absent after pediatric cord blood transplantation. Blood 2016 Oct 4. pii: blood-2016-06-721936. PubMed PMID: 27702800.

Admiraal R, van Kesteren C, Jol-van der Zijde CM, Lankester AC, van Tol MJ, Knibbe CA, Bredius RG, Boelens JJ. Association between anti-thymocyte globulin exposure and CD4+ immune reconstitution in paediatric haemopoietic cell transplantation: a multicentre, retrospective pharmacodynamics cohort analysis. Lancet Haematol. 2015;2(5):e194-203

Bartelink I, Lalmohamed A, Elisabeth M van Reij, Christopher C Dvorak,Rada M Savic, Juliette Zwaveling, Robbert G Bredius, Antoine C Egberts, Marc Bierings, Peter Shaw, Christa E Nath, George Hempel, Marc Ansari,Maja Krajinovic, Yves Theoret, Michel Duval, MD; Ron J Keizer, PhD, Henrique Bittencourt, Moustapha Hassan, Tayfun Güng.r, Robert F Wynn, Paul Veys, Geoff D Cuvelier, Sarah Marktel, Robert Chiesa, Morton J Cowan, Mary A Slatter, Melisa K Stricherz, Cathryn Jennissen, Morris Kletzel, Janel R Long-Boyle, Jaap J Boelens, Association of Busulfan exposure with survival and toxicity after HCT  in Children and Young Adults: a Multicenter Retrospective Cohort Analysis Lancet Hematology 2016; 10.1016/S2352-3026(16)30114-4.

Spel L, Boelens JJ, van der Steen DM et al, Natural killer cells facilitate PRAME-specific T-cell reactivity against neuroblastoma. Oncotarget. 2015 Nov 3;6(34):35770-81.

Aldenhoven M, Wynn RF, Orchard PJ, O’Meara A, Veys P, Fischer A, Valayannopoulos V, Neven B, Rovelli A, Prasad VK, Tolar J, Allewelt H, Jones SA,  Parini R, Renard M, Bordon V, Wulffraat NM, de Koning TJ, Shapiro EG, Kurtzberg J, Boelens JJ. Long-term outcome of Hurler syndrome patients after hematopoietic  cell transplantation: an international multicenter study. Blood 2015 Mar 26;125(13):2164-72.

Visit PubMed for a full listing of Jaap-Jan Boelens’ journal articles

Pubmed is an online index of biomedical articles maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Clinical Trials

As home to one of the world’s top cancer research centers, Memorial Sloan Kettering is typically involved in more than 900 clinical trials at a given time. Currently, clinical trials focused on the conditions I treat are enrolling new patients. If you’re interested in joining a clinical trial, click to learn about the trial’s purpose, eligibility criteria, and how to get more information.

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Most major health insurers offer plans that include MSK as one of their in-network providers. If MSK is in-network, it means all our doctors are too. Medicare and New York State Medicaid also provide benefits for care at MSK.

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