Transplant Games underscore advances in bone marrow transplantation
by Clay Holtzman, Fred Hutch science writer
Last year, we crossed an important threshold in fighting cancer: One million bone marrow transplants performed. Expanding and improving this procedure, which was pioneered by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, continues to be a focal point of our research today.
Later this month the world will be reminded how far bone marrow transplantation has come when recipients participate in the World Transplant Games, hosted by Durban, South Africa, from July 28 to Aug. 4.
Make no mistake, a bone marrow or stem cell transplantation is a complex procedure that is so intense it is typically reserved for patients who have few other treatment options and face a critical diagnosis. But decades of research has allowed hundreds of thousands of patients to go on and live healthy, active lives following their transplants.
One of those patients is 17-year-old Beth Morris of Radcliffe, England, who recently told The Bolton News that she often thinks of her anonymous bone marrow donor after winning swimming and cycling competitions. Morris received her transplant when she was five years old after being diagnosed with leukemia.
With so many successful transplants being performed now, expect to hear about even more bone marrow transplant recipients like Morris competing – and winning – in the Transplant Games.