Blood cancer patients have local option for marrow transplants

by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and editor Rob Diaz

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 22 at 7:00 PM

AUSTIN -- Doctors at St. Davids South AustinMedical Center recently performed the first adult hematopoieticstem cell transplant, which is a type of blood and marrowtransplant. Prior to the new comprehensive blood cancer center,patients had to leave Austin to get the treatment they needed.

Earlier this year, Nancy Guerra enjoyed some down time at her Northwest Austin home, putting together an electronic puzzle. But her own health became far more puzzling than anything she could piece together on her I-Pad. She suffered from multiple myeloma and had intense chemotherapy treatments in preparation for a more important procedure.

Doing the chemotherapy is really good, said Guerra. It puts me in remission, but Im not going to stay in remission anywhere near as long as I will when I have a bone marrow transplant.

But like other patients with bone cancer disorders where to go to get that blood marrow is the key question.

Austin is reaching a critical mass size, said David Huffstutler, President and Chief Executive Officer, St. Davids HealthCare. While we already have a wide array of oncology services, bone marrow transplantation was a missing piece.

Until now Central Texas patients had to travel to San Antonio or Dallas for transplants. The procedure takes only a few hours, but it can take several months for the bone marrow transition to be completed. For Guerra, leaving Austin for that length of time was simply out of the question. So in February she became the first patient to receive a transplant at the new, comprehensive blood cancer center at St. Davids South Austin Medical Center.

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Blood cancer patients have local option for marrow transplants

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