Dayton Children’s to perform bone marrow transplants

Children with cancer soon will be able to get bone marrow transplants at Dayton Children’s Hospital, after the hospital starts offering the procedure for the first time.

Hospital officials say it is a first for children in Dayton, who have previously been referred out for stem cell bone marrow transplants to neighboring institutions such as Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

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Now Nationwide Children’s staff are training Dayton Children’s how to perform the procedure in Dayton. Patients will start being treated through the program in February or March.

“Children with cancer, their treatment expands over years, and it’s very important for them to stay close to home where their support network is available,” said Dr. Ayman El-Sheikh, chief of Dayton Children’s pediatric hematology and oncology division.

The procedure includes harvesting a child’s stem cells from their bone marrow before chemotherapy. The harvested stem cells then are returned to the child after treatment is complete to help their body build normal blood cells.

Children who have the major procedure are in the hospital for about two or three weeks, El-Sheikh said.

Emily Springer said her 2-year-old son Henry went to Nationwide to have his stem cells harvested in 2018. She said the new program is good for families because in the future it will let children stay closer to home at Dayton Children’s.

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Dayton Children’s and Nationwide said this also will create more research opportunities for both hospitals. The hospitals will share physician services and have more clinical trial opportunities.

This bone marrow transplant program is part of an agreement formed in October 2013, where Dayton Children’s and Nationwide work together to share resources, avoid duplication and better use limited pediatric specialists.

Three other initiatives currently operate under this umbrella: a joint outpatient specialty care center and a pediatric practice in Springfield, collaborative on heart services quality initiatives as well as a Lima clinic, and shared services in urology.

“The alliance with Dayton Children’s Hospital is an example of Nationwide Children’s vision to share learnings and discoveries that will provide best outcomes for children everywhere,” said Dr. Timothy Cripe, division chief of hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant at Nationwide.

Nationwide Children's Hospital is ranked fifth in the nation in children's cancer care, according to U.S. News & World Report, which surveys hospital clinical data. Cincinnati Children's is ranked first.

Along with its overall high ranking for pediatric cancer services and outcomes, Nationwide’s bone marrow transplant program received six out of six points from U.S. News for patient 100-day survival after bone marrow transplants.

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