I am a bone marrow transplant specialist with expertise in allogeneic transplantation, the use of hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells from a donor other than the patient to treat blood and bone marrow diseases. I am particularly interested in the use of umbilical cord blood from healthy newborns as a source of stem cells. While transplantation of stem cells from a healthy sibling or an unrelated volunteer adult donor can cure many patients with blood diseases, patients often do not have a suitably matched donor, especially patients of Southern European, mixed, and non-European (e.g. Hispanic, African, or Asian) backgrounds. In addition, searches for unrelated donors can be unacceptably slow.
Cord blood is an alternative source of hematopoietic stem cells and has a number of advantages over blood or bone marrow from an unrelated donor: it is less important to find a perfect HLA (tissue type) match; cord blood is more rapidly available; and there is a lower risk of a serious transplant complication called graft-versus-host disease, which occurs when the transplanted cells attack the body’s normal tissues.
I conduct clinical research investigating new ways to use cord blood to treat diseases of the blood and bone marrow. One approach is to increase the number of cord blood cells by combining two units from different donors (known as double-unit transplants). Another is transplanting umbilical cord blood after reduced intensity or non-myeloablative preparative regimens. These strategies promise to extend potentially curative therapy to many patients; and, encouragingly, patient survival after cord blood transplantation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has been very promising, with preliminary results suggesting it is comparable to that of transplants from unrelated donors.
In addition, in collaboration with my scientific colleagues, I am conducting correlative laboratory studies to better understand the biology of cord blood transplantation. These studies should ultimately lead to improved treatment for patients with blood diseases.
- Clinical Expertise: Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation; Cord Blood Transplantation
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MBBS, Adelaide University
- Residencies: Internal Medicine - Adelaide University
- Fellowships: Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant - University of Minnesota
- Board Certifications: Internal Medicine (Australia)
Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.
Clinical Trials Led by Juliet N. Barker
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