Bone Marrow Treatment

Our team of bone marrow transplant specialists includes Dr. Rachel Cook, who completed her training at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Pennsylvania
Our team of bone marrow transplant specialists includes Dr. Rachel Cook, who completed her training at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Pennsylvania. She takes pride in supporting patients through treatment.

Our doctors have advanced training and extensive experience in bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell transplants. We’ve done autologous transplants, using the patient’s own cells, since 1990. We’ve been Oregon’s only provider of allogeneic transplants, using donor cells, since 1994. We offer:

  • State-of-the-art care in a specially filtered unit, reducing the risk of complications.
  • Expert diagnosis, helping us identify your best treatment options.
  • Haploidentical transplants (using imperfectly matched cells).
  • Transplants using blood from umbilical cords.
  • Bone marrow transplants for children.

What to expect

Your care team will carefully assess whether a transplant is an option. Your team will discuss risks and benefits with you in detail. 

Before your first visit

Call 503-494-7999 for an appointment. A coordinator will collect:

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth or Social Security number
  • The reason for your appointment
  • The provider you wish to see (you may also see the first-available provider)

The coordinator may mail you forms to complete for your first visit. You will also need to bring:

  • Insurance information
  • Your co-payment or prepayment
  • A list of your current medications
  • Any medical records or scans if a non-OHSU clinic or doctor is referring you

If you haven’t already, you will need to register as an OHSU patient before your visit.

Your first visit

This visit will take two or more hours. We’ll discuss treatment options and give you a complete overview, including transplant risks and benefits. To protect patients with weakened immune systems, we ask that you not bring small children or wear fragrance. We don’t have magazines, to limit the spread of germs, but have free Wi-Fi.

Your second visit

You’ll meet with a nurse coordinator and a transplant doctor to discuss treatment specifics. We’ll start the process of requesting coverage from your insurance provider, a step that can take months. A nurse coordinator will help you prepare for treatment, and may call on a social worker to offer support for:

  • Emotional or social issues
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Financial concerns
Dr. Brandon Hayes-Lattin analyzes images of a patient’s cancer cells.
Dr. Brandon Hayes-Lattin analyzes images of a patient’s cancer cells.

Treatment

We offer the most advanced bone marrow treatments, delivered by a care team with specialized training.

Evaluation

You’ll have testing to check for any issues that could affect the success of the transplant. This may include:

  • Screening for infectious disease
  • Blood work to check organ function
  • Imaging scans (chest X-ray, CT scan, PET scan, MRI)
  • Heart tests (EKG, echocardiogram)
  • Bone marrow biopsy (withdrawing a sample for analysis under a microscope)
  • Bone scan

If you are receiving a transplant from a donor, we will begin the process of identifying donor cells. 

Conditioning

Five to 10 days before a transplant, we prepare you to receive transplanted cells. Some patients have high doses of chemotherapy and/or total body radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. In other cases, lower doses of chemotherapy and/or total body radiation are used. Both processes weaken the immune system, making it more likely to accept the transplanted cells.  

Transplant

New bone marrow cells are placed in your bloodstream by IV. The cells collect in bone marrow, where they begin to produce new blood cells after a few weeks. 

Recovery and rehabilitation

Monitoring: You’ll stay in our state-of-the-art transplant facility for close monitoring for two to three weeks. The unit has HEPA filtration to reduce germs and the risk of infection. Monitoring is essential because your immune system will be weak, and infections are common. In some cases, you can stay nearby instead of in the hospital.

Testing: We will regularly test your blood to monitor how your body is responding to the transplant. In some cases, you may need a blood transfusion to keep you healthy.

Engraftment: It can take up to four weeks for the transplanted cells to begin to grow and make healthy blood cells.

Dr. Richard Maziarz
Dr. Richard Maziarz, medical director of our transplant program, has done extensive research on blood cancers.

Support services

  • Cancer social workers: Bone marrow/stem cell transplants save lives but also take a toll on patients and families. Our cancer social workers can help you and your family handle emotions and other issues. A social worker is likely to visit you in the hospital to see what you need.
  • Life after cancer: Our Bone Marrow Transplant Survivorship Program can work with you and your primary care doctor to manage any side effects or other health concerns.
  • Fertility: OHSU offers fertility experts and services to give you options to preserve your ability to have children.
  • Young adults: Our Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program offers support and other services to patients diagnosed with cancer between ages 15 and 39. It’s the only program of its kind in Oregon.

Information for donors

If you are ages 18 to 44, you can offer a lifesaving gift of bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells. Donors:

  • Undergo a physical exam and blood tests
  • Spend up to 30 hours in tests and treatment over four to six weeks

Bone marrow donors: Doctors collect marrow from hipbones with a hollow needle while the donor is under general anesthesia. Some donors spend the night in the hospital.

Peripheral blood stem cell donors: The donor gets a daily injection for five days to increase blood-forming cells. Then blood is withdrawn and put through a machine (apheresis) to collect stem cells for the transplant. The rest of the blood is returned to the donor’s body.

For patients

Call 503-494-7999 to:

  • Request an appointment
  • Seek a second opinion
  • Ask questions

Location

Parking is free for patients and their visitors.

Center for Health & Healing Building 2
3485 S. Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239
Map and directions

Refer a patient

Support for teens and young adults

Dr. Brandon Hayes-Lattin leads OHSU’s Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program

Dr. Brandon Hayes-Lattin leads OHSU’s Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program. It’s the only program in Oregon for people diagnosed with cancer from ages 15 to 39. You’ll find support, a chance to interact with peers and more.

Read more

Learn more about OHSU Knight Cancer Institute treatments: