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Center for Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation

At the Department of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Immunology of Heidelberg University Hospital, we have been performing autologous and allogeneic blood stem cell transplants for more than 10 years. To this end we cooperate closely with our colleagues from the Department of Internal Medicine and the Institute for Clinical Transfusion Medicine and Cell Therapy (IKTZ). Thanks to a tradition in bone marrow transplantation that spans more than 25 years, the children and adolescents treated here in Heidelberg benefit from a wealth of experience that is available in few other places.

 

In October 2014, we received our accreditation as a center of stem cell transplantation by JACIE, a European certification agency of the "European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation" (EBMT) and by the "International Society for Cellular Therapy" (ISCT). This certification is proof of our high international standard as well as our medical and scientific expertise, and lets our patients know that they are in good hands.

A stem cell transplant is a highly complex procedure.

 

Blood stem cells are extracted from the marrow of the hip bone (marrow transplant) or from the donor's blood (stem cell transplant). There are two types of stem cell transplants: autologous and allogeneic. In an autologous transplant, patients receive their own blood stem cells, collected in advance, after undergoing very intense chemotherapy. An allogeneic transplant uses healthy stem cells from a sibling of the patient’s with matching tissue characteristics. If the patient has no siblings with suitable characteristics, we approach the German National Registry of Blood Stem Cell Donors (ZKRD) which – via its contacts to international registries – searches for a matching non-related donor in a worldwide registry of more than 20 million volunteers. If this search remains unsuccessful, we transplant stem cells of the patient's mother or father in a procedure known as haploidentical transplantation.

This means that here in Heidelberg we are able to perform stem cell transplants in all cases in which this therapy is medically indicated.