Health Care

Health system performs 200th adult bone-marrow transplant

January 20, 2016
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Stephanie Williams
Stephanie Williams. Courtesy Spectrum Health

A local health care system recently completed its 200th adult bone-marrow transplant.

Spectrum Health hit the milestone three years into its adult blood and marrow transplant program, or BMT, which performed its first transplant in February 2013.

Spectrum said its 199th and 200th transplants took place on Dec. 31.

“This is an impressive accomplishment,” said Judy Smith, M.D., chief of the Spectrum Health Cancer Center.

She said reaching this goal in a three-year timespan emphasizes the “need for a local program and the exceptional team we have in place.”

Blood and marrow transplants are a treatment option for patients who have cancer, immune system disorders, metabolic disease and other life-threatening conditions.

There are four adult BMT programs in Michigan, and Spectrum Health's BMT program is the only one offered in the western half of the state.

Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has been providing blood and marrow transplants to pediatric patients since 1998.

Having a program offered locally is important, because BMT patients can spend up to a month in the hospital and then another one to two months in recovery in a protected environment, according to Stephanie Williams, M.D., who oversees the adult program.

“Having to travel far and stay away so long after a transplant is emotionally difficult, disruptive and expensive for our cancer patients and their families,” Williams said.

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