Irving Bone Marrow Transplant Unit Opens at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia

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Gary Schwartz, MD

New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center has opened the Irving Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, a state-of-the-art facility for comprehensive bone marrow transplant (BMT) care. The new unit features 18 inpatient rooms, a high-tech nurses station for individual patient monitoring, and a specialized airflow system to help protect patients with weakened immune systems. The unit is supported by a $20 million gift from Herbert and Florence Irving.

Combined Transplantation Procedures

In addition to its use in blood cancer treatment, BMT and other forms of cellular therapies can be used to custom-tailor a patient’s immune system. The pioneering work of Megan Sykes, MD, Director of the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology, has demonstrated that combined bone marrow transplantation and organ transplantation can induce tolerance and allow acceptance of the donor organ without the use of long-term immunosuppressant therapy. The new BMT unit will be at the forefront of efforts to make these novel combined transplant procedures the clinical standard.

The unit is being led by BMT clinician-scientist Markus Mapara, MD, Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

Improving Patient Outcomes

In addition to his interest in combined bone marrow and solid organ transplantation, Dr. Mapara is aiming to develop new approaches to improve the outcomes of patients undergoing autologous and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation by preventing and/or reducing the treatment-related complications such as graft-vs-host disease, as well as preventing recurrence of the underlying disease.

A particular focus of his research is the ability to perform mismatched transplants in patients who do not have matched donors.

 “NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia is in the midst of a revolution in cancer care,” said Gary Schwartz, MD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. “This new state-of-the-art bone marrow transplant facility offers our patients the latest advances in cancer care by providing new therapeutic approaches for the treatment and cure of cancer,” he added. ■