Department of Bone Marrow Transplants
Bone marrow transplants, have become an integral part of treating certain blood cancers. The goals of a transplant vary depending on the individual patient, but generally include controlling or curing the disease, prolonging life, and improving quality of life. A stem cell transplant can put cancer into remission or cure it.
At the Department of Bone Marrow Transplants (BMT) at Sheba Medical Center, we have performed over 2,000 stem cell transplants. Our team includes a diversity of world-renowned experts, including hematologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Treatments are personalized and optimized to address each patient’s unique needs.
Stem cells are immature blood cells located in the bone marrow and blood, and they function to produce the blood cells necessary for survival. Hematological cancers and treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can damage bone marrow, which affects the stem cells’ ability to produce life-sustaining blood cells. In this situation, a transplant can help by replacing the destroyed bone marrow. Additionally, a stem cell transplant can sometimes help treat the cancer itself, because the donated cells identify and attack cancer cells more efficiently than the person’s immune cells.
To locate a perfect donor match for stem cell transplantation, Sheba uses a state-of-the-art HLA laboratory and our on-site molecular laboratory. If a genetically suitable donor cannot be found, Sheba is a member of the National Marrow Donor Program and may use stem cells from this data bank.
Division of Hematology at the Acute Care Hospital
The Department of Bone Marrow Transplants is part of the Division of Hematology at the Acute Care Hospital. Our modern unit for stem cell transplants has 14 comfortable private rooms, an outpatient treatment unit, a patient clinic, a clinical laboratory, a cell therapy and immunotherapy unit, apheresis-stem cell collection and freezing service, and research laboratory.
The Acute Care Hospital houses various advanced departments, including:
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Division of Hematology
- Division of Internal Medicine
- Division of Surgery
- Laboratory Division
What conditions do we treat with bone marrow transplants?
At Sheba, we offer stem cell transplantation for the following types of cancer:
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), Adult and Pediatric
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Adult and Pediatric
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Adult and Pediatric
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), Adult and Pediatric
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL), Adult and Pediatric
- Hodgkin Lymphoma, Adult and Pediatric
- Multiple myeloma, Adult
What treatments do we offer?
Our Department of Bone Marrow Transplants is on the leading edge of treatment for leukemia and lymphatic and solid malignant tumors – both in Israel and internationally. We also provide treatments for certain autoimmune disorders.
This type of bone marrow transplant is done using cryopreserved stem cells taken from the patient. Generally, the transplant is produced from peripheral blood. Autologous transplants are used when no donor has been located or the patient’s clinical condition is not suitable for a donor transplant.
Ideally, stem cells from an HLA-matched sibling or related family member are used to perform allogeneic transplants.
However, when a good donor match cannot be located within the patient’s family, allogeneic stem cell transplantation can be done using cells from an unrelated tissue-matched donor. The donated graft can be from peripheral blood, cord blood, or bone marrow.
Haploidentical stem cell transplantation from a partially HLA matched tissue donor is another type of allogeneic transplant. When the tissue match is only 50%, the graft may be taken from peripheral blood after hematopoietic stem cell isolation and refinement. If the donor is not a family member, only cells with a minor level of tissue mismatch can be used.
Reduced-intensity (“mini” or “RIC”) conditioning involves using lower doses of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells and suppress the immune system before transplantation. Suitable for the elderly, this type of allogeneic stem cell transplant is often used for patients over 70 years old.
We provide ambulatory care and close monitoring of each patient after stem cell transplantation. After being discharged from the hospital, treatments are administered at our outpatient clinic, including immunotherapy with cytokines or lymphocyte cells.
In addition, multidisciplinary experts in pulmonology, gynecology, infectious diseases, and liver disease, respectively, run innovative clinics to help patients with their specialized needs following transplantation.
Arnon Nagler, MD
Director, Division of Hematology, Bone Marrow Transplants and Cord Blood Bank
Prof. Nagler specializes in hematology, bone marrow transplantation, and internal medicine. He has pioneered numerous treatments for malignant and non-malignant blood disorders in Israel. He established the first public cord blood bank at Sheba in 2001, and he performed the first cord blood transplantation in Israel. In addition to his role at Sheba Medical Center, Prof. Nagler is a Professor of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University.
Prof. Nagler received his medical degree from the Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School, in Jerusalem, Israel, and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, in the United States. In addition to receiving numerous awards, he is widely published and a world-renowned speaker. Prof. Nagler has also been the lead investigator on over 15 clinical trials and holds over 40 patents and trademarks. He is a member of the EHA Scientific Program Committee, and Chair of the European Leukemia Subcommittee on Transplantation.
Avichai Shimoni, MD
Director, Department of Bone Marrow Transplants
Prof. Shimoni, a prominent specialist in the field of bone marrow transplants in Israel, has been leading Sheba’s Department of Bone Marrow Transplants for over 20 years, together with Prof. Arnon Nagler. He received specialized training in BMT at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center. Prof. Shimoni also manages the stem cell collection unit, where the collection of lymphocytes for advanced CAR-T cell therapy is performed.
Personalized & Holistic Healthcare
We provide custom-tailored care that considers more than your medical therapies. While hospitalized, every patient in the Department of Bone Marrow Transplants has a private room, accessorized to optimize comfort for both patient and family. Supportive services, including psychologists, nutritionists, art therapy, and various group therapies are offered conveniently on-site. It can be challenging to live with or wait for a bone marrow transplant, and our Sheba team is here to help you cope at every step of your treatment.