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Sanford Health Completes First Bone Marrow Transplant

Nov 17, 2021 09:22AM ● By Med Magazine

Sanford Health Fargo is one step closer to becoming a national destination for cancer treatment.

In late October, the Sanford Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant program completed its first autologous bone marrow transplant at the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center. The autologous transplant is when a patient’s own stem cells are collected and stored.  When the patient is ready, they will receive chemotherapy, with an infusion of their stem cells to follow.

“This is a major milestone,” said Dr. Ammar Alzoubi, Sanford Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant program director. “Our mission is to provide the best possible health care to our patients and to start the first bone marrow transplant program in the state of North Dakota really exemplifies how serious we take our role as a health care provider and as a leader in the community. This process has been a lot of planning, and to see it finally take hold is really gratifying. I am proud of our team for this major accomplishment.”

Over 10 million cells were collected from the patient without any patient complications. The patient was then admitted to the inpatient oncology unit where the patient received high dose chemotherapy and then proceeded with stem cell infusion. The patient was discharged earlier this month and is now recovering at home.

A major benefit of having the Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Roger Maris Cancer Center is the amount of time patients will spend traveling and away from home. Right now, on average, patients utilizing these services travel 3-10 hours away from home, as well as spend 2-5 months temporary away from home as they receive this treatment.

“Having this treatment available right here in the Fargo-Moorhead metro is a game-changer,” said Dr. Seth Maliske. “Patients seeking this treatment have enough of a burden than to worry about traveling to and from appointments and not being able to go home at night. Being able to make the relatively quick drive to Roger Maris Cancer Center and to be able to go home after their appointment is a benefit that does not go unnoticed.”

The next phase of planning includes allogeneic bone marrow transplants, where cells are taken from a healthy donor’s bone marrow for a transplant, in summer of 2022 and CAR T bone marrow transplants, where genetically modified T cells are infused, in late 2022.

For more information on the Sanford Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant program, visit sanfordhealth.org/bonemarrow.