BMT: The original cell therapy
The world’s first successful bone marrow transplant from a matched, related donor was performed at the U 50 years ago, and the therapy is still saving lives
It’s an idea that’s reshaping medicine today: using cells, rather than chemicals, to eradicate disease. But it’s a familiar concept at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.
In the 50 years since the world’s first successful bone marrow transplant from a matched, related donor was performed at the U, this cell therapy has paved the way for a new generation of treatments and provided hope to thousands of people facing otherwise incurable diseases.
“Today we’ve not only come up with ways to make transplant safer but also new technologies that allow us to find donors for nearly everyone—achievements that we could have only dreamed of even 10 years ago,” says the U’s John E. Wagner Jr., M.D., an internationally recognized leader in the field, who holds the Children’s Cancer Research Fund/Hageboeck Family Endowed Chair in Pediatric Oncology and McKnight Presidential Chair in Childhood Cancer Research.
University of Minnesota Health teams have performed more than 8,000 blood and marrow transplants over the last five decades. Today they run one of the largest unrelated-donor transplant programs in the country and the largest umbilical cord blood transplant center in the world.
Click on the numbers below to learn how BMT works.
ILLUSTRATION BY MESA SCHUMACHER
Conditions BMT can be used to treat
• Multiple myeloma
• Aplastic anemia
• Fanconi anemia
• Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD)
• Hurler syndrome
• Hunter syndrome
• Severe combined immunodeficiency
• Sickle cell disease
Other conditions the U team is exploring for treatment with BMT
• Epidermolysis bullosa (in clinical trials)
• Autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel diseases