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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital
At the Forefront of Kids' Medicine

Frequently Asked Questions About Stem Cell Transplantation

Here are answers to some questions frequently asked by parents of children who are undergoing stem cell transplant:

The University of Chicago Medicine was the first hospital in the Chicago area to offer a pediatric bone marrow transplant program more than 20 years ago. Today, the pediatric stem cell transplant program is a joint program with the adult stem cell transplant program at the University of Chicago. With more than twenty transplant physicians and a combined 200 years of expertise, we have the largest, most experienced stem cell transplant program in Chicago. The shared programs perform more than 170 transplants per year.

Stem cell transplantation is a complex procedure and requires a multidisciplinary team of skilled care providers. Your child will be cared for by team of specialists that includes hematologists/oncologists, infectious disease physicians, radiation oncologists, pathologists, transplant nurse practitioners, specially trained floor nurses, social workers and chaplains. Physicians in other specialties may be consulted as warranted.

Yes. Our state-of-the-art inpatient unit is completely HEPA filtered, screening out any infections that might harm a child who is recovering from chemotherapy and transplant. All of the patient accommodations are containment isolation rooms with “anterooms” which allow special ventilation to add increased protection for your child.

Yes. The unit is child- and family- friendly, with guest beds for parents or another relative. Visitors are limited and must take special precautions. Read more about considerations for your child's hospital stay.

It differs depending on type of transplant and each child’s situation. Children who have received an autologous transplant are in the hospital for an average of three to four weeks. Children who have received an allogeneic transplant are hospitalized for an average of four to six weeks.

Whether your child is in the hospital, the Ronald McDonald House or at home, the first 100 days post-transplant are a critical time for increased risk of complications. We apply stringent guidelines related to eating, activity outside the home and exposure to visitors to help reduce that risk.

Our online cancer library offers more information about stem cell transplantation/bone marrow transplantation. Additional information can be found at the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Web site.