Bone Marrow & Stem Cell Transplant Program

The Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center is home to Kentucky’s only Stem cell and Hanna Catherine Evans Bone Marrow Transplant Program specifically for children. An eight-bed unit with HEPA-filtered rooms is designed for the care of patients with compromised immune systems. A multidisciplinary team of attending physicians, residents, nurse practitioners, nurses and ancillary staff provide daily patient care. In addition to the primary transplant clinical team, a child life therapist, social worker, chaplain, physical therapist, nutritionist, pharmacist, expressive and art therapists, and a schoolteacher are involved in each child’s care.

We perform stem cell transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, solid tumors as well as primary immunodeficiency and metabolic disorders. We provide transplants using stem cells from related and unrelated cord blood donors and autologous stem cell transplants.  All national and international cord blood banks and the National Marrow Donor Program are extensively searched to find matches for our patients.

Kosair Children’s Hospital has an on-site private facility for cord blood storage. A service of Norton Healthcare, the Family Link Cord Blood Storage Program began in 1998 for storage of umbilical cord blood from newborn infants. Through Family Link, families delivering within a four-hour driving distance from Louisville Metro can have their baby’s stem cells taken from the umbilical cord and placenta at birth and preserved at ultra-low temperatures through a process called cryopreservation. Visit the Family Link Program for more information. 

The Kosair Children’s Hospital Stem cell and Hanna Catherine Evans Bone Marrow Transplant Program is a member of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium, the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network and the Children’s Oncology Group. 

Malignant conditions

We have expertise treating:

  • Leukemia
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Brain tumors
  • Neuroblastoma and others

Nonmalignant conditions

  • Thalassemia
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Genetic disorders
  • Fanconi anemia
  • Aplastic anemia and others

Umbilical cord blood transplantation performed for:

  • High-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) 
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Acute undifferentiated leukemia
  • Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Advanced chronic myelocytic leukemia (chronic phase occurs more than a year after diagnosis)
  • Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
  • Advanced lymphoma

Parents are encouraged to stay at the Ronald McDonald Family Room provided for families of transplant patients in the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center, where they can remain important team members in their child’s care. This room includes a full bathroom, kitchenette, sitting area and four bunk beds. In addition, one parent may sleep in their child’s room. Outpatient follow-up is done at Kosair Children’s Hospital, where children can get their medicines and transfusions as needed. Out-of-town patients and families can stay at the Ronald McDonald House just two blocks away from the hospital. A room especially for families of our patients is reserved there but based on availability.

Affiliations and memberships
The Kosair Children’s Hospital Stem Cell Transplant program is part of the University of Louisville Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. The program is a member of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC) and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). The program is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), FDA, National Marrow Donor Program (MDP), International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry/Autologous Blood & Marrow Transplant Registry (BMTR/ABMTR) and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) for pediatric transplants.

Contact information

Main contact

Kim Milbranth, R.N.
Bone Marrow Transplant Coordinator
(502) 629-7312

The team
Kenneth Lucas, M.D.
Alexandra Cheerva, M.D.,  M.S.

Bone marrow transplant processing lab

Sara Bair
Amanda Burkhardt
Beth Hubbard
Rebecca Scott

Ancillary staff
Social worker — Angie Gruelich
Chaplain — Shannon Queenan
Child life specialist — Heather Clements
Pharmacy —Jennifer Grant, Sarah Sobotik
Bingham Clinic — Bryan Carter
Expressive therapy — Elizabeth Sanders
Case manager — Annette Carlisle, R.N.
Nutritionist — Gita Sheehan
Massage therapist — Devon Brooksbank
Art therapist — Emily Johnson