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Pediatric Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program

Sylvester’s Alex’s Place

More than simply a treatment site for children with cancer and blood diseases, alex’s place is a space designed to empower our young patients and support their families.

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center provides transplants for infants, children, and adolescents with cancer, bone marrow failure, blood diseases, and congenital immune deficiencies.

Both bone marrow transplant and stem cell transplant are phrases that mean healthy blood-producing stem cells are put back into your body. These new cells replace damaged or diseased bone marrow cells. The procedure can use cells from your own body (called autologous transplant) or from a related or unrelated donor (an allogeneic transplant).

Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?

One of only 71 NCI-designated cancer centers in the United States. Sylvester is one of only two cancer centers in Florida that have been recognized by the National Cancer Institute. The team earned this distinction through its outstanding work conducting research in its laboratories, treating patients in its clinics and hospitals, and reaching out to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies.

Leading edge research in bone marrow/stem cell transplantation. When both research and expert clinical practice come together, you know you have the most up-to-date treatment possible for your specific condition, delivered in a setting in which all the different experts needed for comprehensive treatment come together.

South Florida's only university-based pediatric transplant program. We serve children in South Florida, Latin America, and the Caribbean with national affiliations. Your child has access to a wider base of donors and clinical trials involving stem cell transplant to increase chances of a successful transplant.

Personalized recommendations. Whether you have a familial predisposition to particular cancers, or you want your child to stay healthy long-term, we keep your goals in mind when developing your screening and treatment schedules.

Questions? We're here to help.

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When your child is not responding to chemotherapy or other treatments to help him/her produce healthy blood cells in the bone marrow, your specialist may recommend a bone marrow/stem cell transplant.

You can receive unrelated donor or umbilical cord blood transplants when family donors are not available. We are part of the National Marrow Donor Program so you have access to a diverse donor population.

  • Stem Cell Harvesting

    Blood-producing stem cells may be removed from bone marrow in the back of your hip (bone marrow transplant). These cells can also come from the bloodstream. In the latter case, we use a medication to draw bone marrow cells into the blood. This is called a stem cell transplant. Most transplants are stem-cell transplants.

  • Stem Cell Transplant

    After collecting the stem cells, your child will be admitted to the hospital to receive a course of high-dose chemotherapy to eliminate residual cancer cells from the body. Next, the previously collected stem cells are returned to the body through an intravenous catheter.

    Over the following days, your child’s blood counts will fall to low levels. Chemotherapy destroyed the unhealthy marrow calls. After a few days, the new stem cells will start producing blood. Until they do, there is a high risk of infection due to low white blood cells, and of bleeding due to low platelets. He or she will need blood transfusions to counter the lack of red blood cells and protection from infection sources by being in isolation.

  • Post-Transplant Care

    After transplant and discharge from the hospital, your child will be followed up long-term at our clinic. Your child will be monitored by a transplant and disease specialists and a psychologist.


  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) and Blood Chemistry Studies

    A sample of blood is drawn and reviewed under a microscope. We look for the number and percentage of red and white blood cells and platelets. We also check the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is a protein in the blood.

  • Bone Marrow Biopsy

    A small amount of bone marrow, blood, and bone get removed from the hipbone or breastbone. We look for microscopic signs of cancer.

  • Immunophenotyping

    This lab test reviews markers (antigens) found on the surface of blood or bone marrow cells. Our goal is to find out the type of cells in your blood. This test helps diagnose the specific type of blood cancer by comparing the cancer cells to normal cells of the immune system.

  • Flow Cytometry

    Cells in a blood sample are measured for the amount and percentages of live cells. We also check the characteristics of cells. These include size, shape, and the presence of tumor markers on the cell surface. Measurements are created by how the light-sensitive dye reacts to the light.

  • Cytogenetic Analysis

    A lab test that looks at cells in a blood sample under a microscope for changes in the chromosomes found in blood or bone marrow. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) is a type of cytogenetic test using fluorescent dyes that only attach to certain parts of chromosomes.

  • Multigene Tests

    Because no tumor has a single mutation, genomic profiling allows the pathologist to identify groups of mutations in your blood sample and create a tumor profile for you. That profile can be used to determine what type of treatment would be the most effective and how long you should have treatments like chemotherapy. Your profile may also help predict whether the blood cancer is likely to recur and guide treatment accordingly.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.