November 2, 2018

Cancer Center among best in nation for stem cell transplant survival

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Stem Cell Transplant ranks among the best in the nation for donor stem cell transplant survival rates among large centers, according to an annual report.

by Tom Wilemon

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Stem Cell Transplant ranks among the best in the nation for donor stem cell transplant survival rates among large centers, according to an annual report.

The reporting of center-specific, one-year survival rates for recipients of donor transplants is a requirement of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005. The most recent analysis by the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) evaluated 174 transplant centers in the United States. In that analysis, the CIBMTR uses a model of the predicted survival rate versus the actual survival rate based on data from each individual transplant center that includes several factors, including patient mix, types of cancer and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) match scores.

“One of the key metrics of a successful donor stem cell transplant program is the number of patients surviving at one year after transplant. Based on the current data from CIBMTR, our center is one of a relatively small number of centers whose performance is above expected,” said Madan Jagasia, MBBS, MSCI, MMHC, chief medical officer for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC).

The transparency of outcome data allows patients and referring physicians to make better informed decisions. This information is also factored in by health insurers.

“For patients throughout the region who are faced with the prospect of a stem cell transplant, these outcomes offer reassurance that the very best care they can receive is right here. This would not be possible without the sophisticated knowledge of our clinicians, as leaders in their field, and their longstanding commitment to compassionate care,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

VICC Stem Cell Transplant has been a designated “Center of Excellence” among major insurers for more than a decade, and patients from throughout the United States come to Vanderbilt for transplants.

VICC Stem Cell Transplant started performing stem cell transplants in the outpatient setting in 2003. This model has been successful in performing a complex therapy such as stem cell transplant purely as an outpatient while reducing hospitalizations. Three years later, they established the Long-Term Transplant Clinic, that allows for systematic and multispecialty care of the transplant survivors, working in close coordination with community-based providers.

“The key to success in the long term is the entire clinical team that looks after the patient. Our team is academically inclined and truly passionate about taking care of this group of patients,” Jagasia said. “Once we got that alignment, our outcomes started improving. Our organizational discipline and patient centeredness has been the focus and strength of the program.”

Jagasia, who holds the George and Beverly Rawlings Directorship, recommends that both program outcomes and geographic proximity be considered when physicians make a referral to a stem cell transplant center.

“Cancer is a tough diagnosis, and transplant is grueling therapy. The last thing you want to do is uproot a patient very far away from their home environment, which is disruptive in a multitude of ways. The VICC stem cell transplant program is a top-tier program with exceptional outcomes. We strive hard to deliver an exemplary patient experience, and we feel honored to provide life-saving therapy to our patients,” Jagasia said.