Making Stem Cell Transplants Safer

April 19, 2021

(Chemical & Engineering News) – As a young pediatric oncologist, Kevin Heller was struck by the power of bone marrow transplants. While working at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the early 2000s, he saw how hematopoietic stem cells taken from a donor’s bone marrow and infused into children with blood cancer could save lives. But the process came at a cost. Before getting the transplant, the kids had to endure what doctors call conditioning, typically a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy that clears out diseased cells and makes space in the bone marrow for the incoming healthy ones.