(Washington, D.C.,) In April 2017 MedStar Georgetown’s Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant (BMT) Program celebrated an exciting milestone by performing its 100th transplant.
Stem cell transplantation is the only curative therapy for a number of malignant and non-malignant diseases of the blood and bone marrow. Autologous transplants use a patient’s own bone marrow or stem cells while allogeneic transplants use a donor’s bone marrow or stem cells.
June Batcheller from Arlington, VA was first diagnosed in June 2016 with solitary bone plasmacytoma in one of her ribs. After 33 rounds of radiation she thought she was on track for recovery. However, in December 2016 she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
After being referred to the BMT Program at MedStar Georgetown, Batcheller received two rounds of chemotherapy. After that physicians determined she was eligible for a bone marrow stem cell transplant.
On April 26, 2017, Batcheller became the program’s 100th stem cell transplant recipient.
“This is the closest step we’ve been to the finish line,” said Batcheller after receiving the transplant. “I feel relieved in some ways now.”
Dr. Pashna Munshi performed the 100th transplant and says the highly specialized team of physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals, including pre-transplant coordinators, the Apheresis team, nurses, dietitians, social workers and other support staff provide expert care to the patients and also their families.
“People in the D.C. area really do have the ability to receive state of the art care from our program since we are the only program of its kind in this area. We pride ourselves on supporting the patient and the family because that is MedStar Georgetown’s mission of cura personalis – caring for the whole person. It is important to us that our patients feel supported every step of the way,” said Dr. Munshi.
The Hospital’s BMT program is the only comprehensive BMT center within Washington, D.C., and southern Maryland with accreditation from the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) for adult, autologous procedures.
The BMT Program is a joint effort with specialists from the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, and a key component of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“One hundred completed procedures demonstrates that our program has achieved a level of maturity and experience that means top-level, sophisticated care for our cancer patients,” says Scott Rowley, MD, chief of the BMT program at MedStar Georgetown as well as a member of the John Theurer Cancer Center’s Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplantation Division.
During the BMT Program’s first year in 2013, the team performed four autologous transplants. In just a short amount of time the program has continued to grow and reach this milestone of 100 total autologous and allogeneic transplants.
After a successful 30-year career in financial services, mostly recently serving as the chief compliance officer for a major online brokerage, Batcheller enjoys spending time with her husband, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and her family, all avid fans of the Washington Capitals. During her stay at MedStar Georgetown, the Washington Capital’s mascot Slapshot even stopped by to check on her recovery.
“Our program is continuing to grow and in 2017 we have performed 20 autologous transplants. We are looking forward to submitting our FACT accreditation for allogeneic transplants this summer and continuing to be a leader in the region,” said Dr. Munshi.
Supporting this growth and the emphasis on patient care is the newly renovated Emily and Neil Kishter Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Clinic that officially opened in August 2016. The space features upgraded exam rooms, provider work areas, four infusion bays and a waiting room. MedStar Georgetown is also home to the largest Blood and Marrow Collection Program (BMCP) collection site for the National Marrow Donor program.