Research & Innovative Therapies
Searching for Answers
Our team within the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation at University of Minnesota is focused on the integral relationship between clinical care and research. We continue to break new ground in a variety of areas. We are leaders in alternative stem cell therapies, umbilical cord blood transplantation and immune-based therapies. We also provide novel treatment options for patients with rare, life-threating conditions and work tirelessly to reduce transplant side effects and improve quality of life for patients after transplant.
Curing the Incurable
Until recently, patients with rare conditions like Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) and Osteopetrosis had very few options when it came to treatment. It’s these patients - and their families - who inspire us and push us to think differently and find a new path toward a possible cure. Because of our groundbreaking research in stem cell therapy, blood and marrow transplant is a real, viable treatment option for many of these patients who previously had very limited options. Our work in this area has also expanded to other diseases like HIV, where we were the first institution to use BMT to treat a young patient with leukemia and HIV in 2013.
We are also leaders in the use of umbilical cord blood to treat cancers and rare diseases. Because umbilical cord blood requires less precise tissue matching for recipients, cord blood transplants are available to more patients. Our research also has shown that mixing two separate units of umbilical cord blood together, and giving that to patients actually improves the success rate of engraftment. This is a technique pioneered here at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and is known worldwide as the Minneapolis regimen.
Making transplant more successful
Our entire team is focused on the many ways we can make transplant safer. This work includes how to speed up the rate of engraftment and how to boost the body’s immune system more quickly. Together, by improving this process, we can help patients recover much faster and reduce their risk of infection.
Our Children’s Hospital, which opened in 2011, also has design features which help protect our patients’ fragile immune system following transplant. For example, the BMT unit rooms have positive air pressure, compared to the hallways, so when the doors are opened – the air pushes OUT to keep the patient room air as pure and clean as possible. Similarly, when a patient is battling an infection – the air pressure can be reversed, so the “contaminated” air does not escape into the common areas.
Improving long-term health and outcomes
Blood and marrow transplant is a serious treatment for very serious conditions. While our primary goal is to treat the condition, we are also very committed to looking at the long-term impacts of transplant and how we can improve our process to limit harmful side effects.
We have a number of measures and steps we take to preserve fertility, including a novel method to protect the ovaries of young girls who need to receive radiation in their pelvis.
Our faculty and staff are committed to research and education. Combining our renowned classroom teaching with our pioneering research creates benefits for the next generation of healthcare providers, our patients and their families, and the general public. Learn More About Our Studies.
Lean how you can play a more active role in your child's healthcare and gain access to new treatments before they are widely available while helping others by contributing to medical research. Read More About Our Clinical Trials.
For Medical Professionals
We welcome referrals of your patients at any time. Please contact us to begin the process. For Referring Professionals.
What’s New at the U? includes the latest news on research, education and patient initiatives from the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital. Our Spring issue covers Enzyme Replacement Therapy for Hurler, Advancements in ALD, Gene Therapy and transplant benefits, and the Looking to the Future of the Center.