St. David's HealthCare February 19, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas—St. David’s South Austin Medical Center in Austin recently performed its 300th adult stem cell transplant―a lifesaving procedure designed to treat patients with a variety of blood cancers. The patient, a 57-year-old man, received an allogeneic stem cell transplant after being diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in May 2018.

St. David’s HealthCare, in collaboration with Texas Oncology, launched the Texas Transplant Institute at the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Center at St. David's South Austin Medical Center in 2014, and it is the only program in Austin to offer adult stem cell transplants. Before this, patients suffering from blood cancers would have to relocate to Houston, San Antonio or Dallas for three to five months for treatment, which can be cost prohibitive and disruptive for the patient’s family.

“This is a significant milestone for our program,” Aravind Ramakrishnan, M.D., stem cell transplant physician with the Texas Transplant Institute at the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Center at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, said. “Since its launch in 2014, we have been able to offer the complete continuum of care for blood-related malignancies right here in Austin. This can make a difficult time a little easier for patients, allowing them to heal with the support of family and friends nearby.”

The Texas Transplant Institute at the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Center at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center provides two types of stem cell transplant procedures:

Autologous stem cell transplant: An autologous stem cell transplant is a transplant in which the patient’s own stem cells are used. The comprehensive Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Center at St. David's South Austin Medical Center performed its first adult stem cell transplant in February 2014. Then, in July 2015, the program performed its first outpatient autologous transplant, allowing patients who are otherwise healthy to stay at home throughout their treatment, with daily visits to the hospital.

Allogeneic stem cell transplant: An allogeneic stem cell transplant is a type of stem cell transplant during which donated stem cells are used. Stem cells from a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) compatible donor are harvested, stored and transplanted into the patient after the patient receives high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation. Allogeneic stem cell transplant procedures are designed to treat a variety of blood cancers and diseases by suppressing the disease and restoring the patient’s immune system. The Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Center at St. David's South Austin Medical Center performed its first allogeneic stem cell transplants, including a matched sibling transplant and the first unrelated donor transplant, in May 2016.

“Minimizing stress and disruption for patients receiving this complex treatment is a significant benefit for patients and their supporting family and friends,” Laurence Tokaz, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology and medical director of the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Center at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, said. “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to treat our 300th patient at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, and we are looking forward to expanding the services we offer to patients as the program continues to grow.”

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center recently received an internationally recognized accreditation in the field of cellular therapy transplantation by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. By demonstrating compliance with the FACT-JACIE (Joint Accreditation Committee-ISCT & EBMT) International Standards for Cellular Therapy Product Collection, Processing and Administration, the hospital earned FACT Accreditation for adult allogeneic and autologous bone marrow transplants, as well as Immune Effector Cellular Therapy. This accreditation signifies the hospital has met the most rigorous standards in every aspect of stem cell therapy.

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St. David’s South Austin Medical Center

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, which is part of St. David’s HealthCare, is a 300-bed acute care facility offering a range of complex specialties and sub-specialties, including a nationally accredited oncology program with the area’s only adult bone marrow transplant program; a trauma program that includes a Level II trauma center to treat the most severely injured and critical patients; a comprehensive cardiac program; full-service maternity and newborn care with Level I and II nurseries; and two full-service emergency centers in the communities of Bee Cave and Bastrop.