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Florida Hospital Performs First Unrelated Bone Marrow Transplant in Orlando

  • Synopsis: Published: 2008-08-15 (Revised/Updated 2010-04-12) - Florida Hospital recently performed the first unrelated bone marrow transplant in the Orlando area on 61 year old Michael Richard. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Donald Arson.

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Florida Hospital recently performed the first unrelated bone marrow transplant in the Orlando area on 61-year-old Michael Richard.

Orlando is quickly becoming known for medicine and science, and for some local patients that means no longer having to travel to get many complex medical treatments.

On the banks of Lake Estelle Thursday morning, Florida Hospital announced an extension of its transplant program that will allow patients to receive life-saving transplants in their own community.

Florida Hospital recently performed the first unrelated bone marrow transplant in the Orlando area on 61-year-old Michael Richard. "I received a bone marrow transplant from my sister, but when that failed, I began to look at unrelated bone marrow transplant options," Richard said.

"I wanted to do the transplant here in my hometown with my friends, family, and team of doctors who I knew and trusted."

Dr. Vijay Reddy, co-medical Director of the Florida Center for Cellular Therapy at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, performed the transplant that involves taking donated blood stem cells and transplanting them to a patient via a central line IV. When successful, the new bone marrow gives patients with blood-related cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, an improved immune system.

"The generosity of an unrelated 18-year-old bone marrow donor allowed us to transplant new bone marrow into Mr. Richard, a new procedure in this area," Reddy said. "Previously patients had to travel to Gainesville, Tampa, or Jacksonville for the transplant and follow-up care that could take up to 3 months. Now, they can stay right here in their community."

Florida Hospital has been performing bone marrow transplants since 1996 and has a specialized 10-bed pediatric and adult bone marrow transplant unit at Florida Hospital Orlando.

Florida Hospital has been performing solid organ transplants for 35 years and currently performs transplants of the kidney, pancreas, and liver.

To date, Florida Hospital has performed more than 2,500 kidney transplants and is considered one of the most active kidney transplant programs in the United States. And now, Florida Hospital is planning to add heart and lung transplants to expand its comprehensive program.

"Given Florida Hospital's 35-year legacy and leadership of performing transplants, expanding into heart and lung transplants is a natural progression and a significant benefit for patients in our community," said Dr. Michael Angelis, chief surgical director of Transplant Services.

In addition, the Ginsburg Tower at Florida Hospital Orlando will provide infrastructure and technology needed to expand the transplant program into the heart and lung areas.

"In November 2008 when it opens, the Ginsburg Tower will be home to the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute which cares for more heart patients than any other hospital in the country, as well as the latest in cardiac research and technology," said Randy Haffner, administrator of Florida Hospital Orlando. "Combining this with our legacy of performing transplants allows us to build off two centers of excellence to include heart and lung transplants."

The 15-story Ginsburg Tower is scheduled to open in late 2008. If a certificate of need is received from the state, Florida Hospital could anticipate beginning to perform heart and lung transplants in 2009.

Florida Hospital Cancer Institute is a premier cancer treatment center in Florida. They specialize in lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and much more.

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