What We Treat

The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program is one of the largest in the nation. But, your child is more than a number to our team. Your child deserves outstanding care designed just for him. In fact, we believe your child deserves the best care possible. 

What is a BMT?

During a BMT, your child will receive healthy stem cells to help restore bone marrow stem cells that are damaged, missing or not working. BMT is not a surgery; it is a treatment that takes place over weeks and months. The transplant cells are given intravenously (through a vein) like a blood transfusion.

Conditions treated with BMTs

A BMT can be used to treat many types of malignant (cancerous) diseases and nonmalignant (noncancerous) diseases, such as:

  • Blood cancers: Leukemia and lymphoma
  • Solid tumor cancers: Neuroblastoma and certain brain tumors
  • Noncancerous blood and genetic disorders: Sickle cell disease, thalassemia, bone marrow failure (aplastic anemia, Fanconi anemia, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, myelodysplastic syndromes), phagocyte disorders, histiocyte disorders, immune deficiency syndromes (Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome), metabolic storage diseases (Hurler’s syndrome)
  • Immune dysregulation and immunodeficiency: Complex, multisystem autoimmune disorders that arise from an underlying defect in immune regulatory pathways

Types of BMTs

  • An autologous transplant is when the patient donates their own blood or bone marrow stem cells. Blood or bone marrow is taken from your child and given back later after receiving very strong chemotherapy to treat a disease.
  • An allogeneic transplant is when the blood or bone marrow is taken from another person and given to your child. This donor could be a sibling, parent or an anonymous matching donor. Finding a matching donor may take time.

The type of BMT your child needs depends on the disease being treated and who will give your child the best blood or bone marrow to treat his illness. Your doctor will discuss all your options with you before making any decisions.

Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) accreditation

Our BMT Program has been granted accreditation under the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) - Joint Accreditation Committee-ISCT and EBMT (JACIE) International Standards for Hematopoietic Cellular Therapy. We have successfully achieved re-accreditation through several three-year cycles, and now the accreditation also includes the Children's Apheresis Program as a FACT-accredited collection facility. Re- accreditation applies to all services and facilities inspected by FACT. These include pediatric allogeneic and autologous hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation; Immune effector cellular therapy; marrow cellular therapy product collection; Peripheral blood cellular therapy product collection; and Cellular therapy product processing with minimal manipulation. In addition, the accreditation includes contract services from peripheral blood cellular therapy product collection performed by the Emory University School of Medicine Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center, an independent FACT-accredited program. The FACT accreditation is a voluntary accreditation process that shows a commitment to continuous improvement in the quality of our BMT Program. FACT-accredited organizations must comply with international standards that are established by experts in the field of blood and marrow transplantation.

Our Unique Approach

As one of the top pediatric BMT programs in the country, we provide expertise in autologous and allogeneic transplants for a wide variety of cancers and disorders of the blood, immune system and metabolism, and are international leaders in BMT for sickle cell disease, as well as immune dysregulation and immune deficiency. We provide a wide range of cutting-edge treatments, including gene therapy, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T therapy, haploidentical (half-matched donors), and novel approaches for the prevention and management of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Our patients having among the best survival rates in the country is a testament to our careful attention to family-centered care. In fact, we have consistently exceeded the predicted benchmark of survival for our mix of patients.

Our highlights

  • We are one of the largest pediatric BMT programs in the country, performing 77 BMTs in 2017.
  • We have been recognized as a national leader in transplanting patients with sickle cell disease, curing more than 73 children.
  • Our 100-plus day survival rates are better than national average for autologous and allogeneic transplants.
  • We perform an average of more than 70 BMTs annually over the past three years and more than 1,000 BMTs since our program’s inception in 1985.
  • We are recognized for performing the world’s first successful unrelated cord blood transplant for a patient with sickle cell disease.
  • We have a growing unique, multidisciplinary Immunohematology Program focused on curing immunodeficiencies and immune dysregulation through BMT.
  • We have status as one of a select group of centers offering gene therapy for sickle cell disease and thalassemia.
  • We offer CAR-T cell therapy and cutting-edge treatment for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
  • We offer clinical trials for BMTs from half-matched related donors, thus making BMTs available to patients without a sibling or unrelated donors.
  • We have a multi-disciplinary clinic for management of GVHD.
  • We have been serving as the leader of more than 40 institutions nationwide on the Sickle Cell Transplant to Prevent Disease Exacerbation (STRIDE) study, investigating the role of BMT in providing safe and effective cures for young adults with sickle cell disease. 
  • We are accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy.

Learn more about BMT for sickle cell disease


Helpful Resources

Before your visit

Learn how to prepare for your visit to the Aflac Cancer Center, including information about our transitional housing options for families traveling from outside of Atlanta.

Get information and tips

Camps, events and support groups

Camps, retreats and other events offer many therapeutic benefits for children and families who are dealing with serious illness.

Camps, events and support groups

Second opinions and international services

We understand you want to be certain your child is receiving the best possible treatment available anywhere in the world. Second opinions can help provide the information you need to make an informed decision about the treatment for your child. For families traveling outside the U.S., we are here to help meet your unique needs and challenges.

Learn more about our second opinion services

Learn more about our international services

Donate

Learn how you can help make a difference in the life of a child battling cancer or a blood disorder.

Join the fight against childhood cancer and blood disorders

Learn more about how Aflac supports us

Meet the Team

Our BMT team

Clinical faculty:

Research-intensive faculty: