For some children with DKC, treatment includes a transplant of blood-forming stem cells from a healthy donor (stem cell transplant). It is also called a bone marrow transplant or hematopoietic cell transplant. Hematopoietic (him-at-oh-poy-EH-tik) stem cells are young cells that grow into blood cells.
This treatment works best in children and young adults with a sibling who is a match and can donate stem cells for the transplant. It is important to test any family member who will be a donor to make sure they have not also inherited DKC, even if they do not have symptoms.
This treatment helps your child’s bone marrow make healthy blood cells. But a transplant does not improve problems with bones or lungs or other complications DKC can cause.
Our Non-Malignant Transplant Program specializes in stem cell transplants for children with noncancer conditions, including marrow failure. Some children with DKC are too sick to tolerate the powerful drugs or radiation (called conditioning) that are usually used to prepare their bodies for the transplant. Our team – led by Dr. Lauri Burroughs – has developed better ways to prepare them, called reduced-intensity conditioning. We continue to fine-tune conditioning treatments to improve survival and reduce complications.
We perform the transplants here at Seattle Children’s, working closely with Fred Hutch, our partner in the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Fred Hutch pioneered this lifesaving procedure and is one of the largest stem cell transplant centers in the world.