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In March 2017, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) became the second Eastern Province hospital where bone marrow transplants are performed. “This is an important milestone for the treatment we provide patients suffering from multiple myeloma, lymphoma and other cancers,” said Dr. Nafisah Al-Faris, Oncology Institute Chair. “Bone marrow transplants, also known as hematopoietic stem cell transplants, allow us to give a higher dose of chemo, which can improve the outcome.”

“This is an important milestone for the treatment we provide patients suffering from multiple myeloma, lymphoma and other cancers,”
Dr. Nafisah Al-Faris

Chemotherapy destroys stems cells that create the different types of blood cells. These blood forming stem cells are located in the bone marrow. Inserting healthy stem cells after chemotherapy allows for a person’s body to regenerate blood cells that fight infection and keep the body functioning properly.

The Bone Marrow Transplat Procedure

Describing the procedure, Dr. Ahmed I. Alsagheir, Hematologist/Oncologist, said, “We extracted bone marrow from the patient, gave him a high dose of chemo and once the chemo left his body, within about 48 hours, we reintroduced the collected stem cells from bone marrow. It takes 12-14 days for stem cells in the bone marrow to begin replicating.”

Second Hospital in Eastern Province to Perform Bone Marrow Transplants

“We could not have done this without the collaboration of King Fahad Specialist Hospital in Dammam (KFSHD),” commented Dr. Al-Faris. KFSHD has been doing this procedure for eight years and conducts about 60 per year. Dr. Hani Al-Hashmi, Director of the KFSHD Blood and Cancer Center, said, “We are very excited to have a second hospital in the Eastern Province performing this procedure and we look forward to a continued partnership in helping patients overcome cancer.”

“Technology is ever changing in this field, and every few years a major innovation takes place,” said Dr. Alsagheir. “We now have all the ingredients, trained medical staff, a topnotch pharmacy team, an excellent lab and a state of the art blood bank in place, as well as the support of KFSHD. Everything is now aligned and ready to not only perform these procedures today but will be positioned to take advantage of future innovations.”

Cancercare, part of the JHAH Oncology Institute, delivers comprehensive, patient-centered, and multi-disciplinary care for cancer and blood disorders. It utilizes the best standards of care for cure and palliation, along with psycho-social support.

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