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Hematology Oncology Transplant Services

Children’s Hospital of New Orleans Stem Cell Transplant, Cellular, and Gene Therapies Program

What is a stem cell transplant?

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is often the best and sometimes only chance for cure for patients with certain cancers or blood disorders. The process involves replacing someone’s defective blood stem cells with new healthy stem cells. HSCT is often called a bone marrow transplant because the blood stem cells live within the bone marrow. The stem cells can be collected from the blood or bone marrow from a patient’s own body (autologous) or from someone else (allogeneic). Prior to receiving the new cells, a patient must go through chemotherapy and/or radiation to eliminate their defective stem cells. Receiving the stem cells does not require surgery as the new cells are administered through an IV similar to a blood transfusion. The process takes weeks to months and involves close care from a highly specialized, experienced multidisciplinary team.

What is cellular therapy?

Cell therapy is a process of training the immune system to attack specific cells, including cancer cells. Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy (CAR T) is the most common cellular therapy and revolutionized the management of difficult to treat cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Many cellular therapies use the patient’s own cells however some require a donor. After collecting and training the cells, they are given back to the patient through an IV where they begin seeking out and killing the unwanted cells.

What is gene therapy?

Gene therapy is an approach to prevent or treat diseases by correcting the genetic mutations responsible for the diseases. The number of diseases that are currently able to be treated with gene therapy is growing rapidly and includes immunodeficiencies, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and others. The process involves collecting a patient’s own cells and then changing the genes to turn them off, replace them with a normal healthy gene, or introducing new genes depending on the disease. These cells are then given back to patient through an IV to treat their disease.

Diseases we treat:

We treat a variety of cancerous and non-cancerous diseases including but not limited to those listed below.

Leukemia and Lymphoma

  • ALL
  • AML
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)

Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)

Aggressive cancers requiring high doses of chemotherapy

  • Neuroblastoma
  • Brain tumors
  • Aggressive or metastatic sarcomas

Bone Marrow Failure syndromes

  • Severe aplastic anemia
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
  • Fanconi anemia
  • Dyskarytosis congenita
  • Diamond Blackfan anemia

Sickle cell anemia


Severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID)

Immune Dysregulation Syndromes

  • IPEX
  • Wiskott Aldrich syndrome
  • Chronic granulomatous disease
  • X-linked lymphoproliferative disorder (XLP)

Who we are?

The multidisciplinary team at CHNOLA have extensive experience at taking care of stem cell transplant and cellular and gene therapy patients. We provide an individualized approach to treat our patients so that each patient receives the best possible care for their disease. The mission is to care for our patients with a family centered approach which utilizes all resources available. Our multidisciplinary team includes physicians, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, pharmacists, physical therapists, psychologists, and blood bank personnel.

Why choose us?

Dr. Lolie Yu started the hematopoietic stem cell transplant program at CHNOLA in 1989. With over 30 years’ experience in curing patients with cancer and blood diseases, CHNOLA is the premier center for pediatric stem cell transplant and cellular therapy in Louisiana and treats more patients than any other pediatric center in the state. The survival rate for our patients have historically met or exceeded the expectations set by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). We are the only pediatric program accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapies and the only pediatric CAR-T certified program in Louisiana. We are passionately dedicated to ensuring that the patients in the Gulf South region have access to the most advanced and comprehensive therapies possible. To achieve this goal, our program is affiliated with transplant centers across the country through collaboration with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC), Pediatric Immunodeficiency Treatment Consortium (PIDTC), the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMTCTN), and the Sickle Cell Transplant Advocacy and Research Alliance (STAR).

We are also focused on supporting our families through the long journey of transplant and thereafter. This includes services with psychology, psychiatry, and child life therapy while in the hospital. Following discharge, patients who live away from New Orleans have available housing on our campus through the Ronald McDonald House and Hog’s House. To help manage potential long-term complications, we also offer the only pediatric survivorship clinic in the Gulf South.

Newly Approved Gene Therapy Treatment Center For Sickle Cell Disease & Chronic Pain

Children's Hospital New Orleans is a recently activated treatment center for both Bluebird Bio and Vertex for gene therapy, which received FDA approval for patients over 12yrs with sickle cell disease and chronic pain in December 2023. For Vertex, Children's Hospital New Orleans is currently one of only ten centers in the United States to be activated.

For both Bluebird Bio and Vertex, Children's is the only pediatric center in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Louisiana has one of the largest sickle cell populations with approximately 1,500 kids under the age of 18 affected. In addition to Bone Marrow Transplant, this now gives multiple curative options to this debilitating disease and makes Children's Hospital New Orleans a destination for advanced treatment of Sickle Cell Disease. Both companies also have products for patients with Beta-Thalassemia who are transfusion dependent.

For more information regarding the hematopoietic stem cell transplant center at Children's Hospital, please contact the Hematology/Oncology office at 504.896.9740.

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