Winthrop: A Center for Lifesaving Autologous Stem Cell Transplants

Vol. 9, No. 3
December, 1999

  • External Beam Radiation Therapy Makes a Quantum Leap

  • Ambulatory Surgery Unit Expands

  • New Island Hospital Breaks Ground

  • Winthrop is Y2K Ready

  • Indigo Laser Relieves Symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Study

  • Dr. Scott Named Heart Association President

  • New Interventional Radiology Suite Unveiled

  • Mammotome� Breast Biopsy Procedure

  • Drug May Help Prevent Lung and Brain Damage in Premature Babies

  • Winthrop Nurses Never Stop Learning

  • Clinical Trial for Pancreatic Cancer

  • Winthrop: A Center for Lifesaving Autologous Stem Cell Transplants

  • Carnival in Venice Benefits Winthrop

  • John Broder Named Businessperson of the Year

  • Yuletide Ball

  • Winthrop�s Ninth Annual Flu Immunization Program Reached 1,500 Senior Citizens

  • Teens for Tots/Teen Angels� Donation to Child Life Program

  • Winthrop�s Deserving Volunteers Receive Awards

  • Volunteers Needed at Winthrop

  • Visiting Scholar from Taiwan Studies at Winthrop

  • For Long Island Children who don't have Health Insurance

  • Copyright

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  • Richard Mastrianni (R), who underwent autologous stem cell transplantation therapy, recently celebrated the recovery of his health with a vacation in the Bahamas. Here, he is congratulated by Jeffrey G. Schneider, MD, (L), Faculty Attending, Division of Oncology/Hematology.

    Treatment provides hope, health, and frequent remission for patients with testicular cancer, Hodgkins disease, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

    Imagine that you are 34 years old � and have been diagnosed with metastatic lymphoma.

    Imagine learning that chemotherapy has been ineffective � that your cancer is spreading, and you are fast losing your battle.

    The good news is that there is still plenty of hope.

    Patients with lymphoma, testicular cancer, Hodgkins disease, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and multiple myeloma now have a fighting chance for remission and recovery at Winthrop, where lives have been saved through autologous stem cell transplantation therapy, available through the Division of Oncology/Hematology. In some cases, components of this dramatic therapy can be administered on an outpatient basis.

    When 34-year-old Richard Mastrianni of Rockville Centre was diagnosed with lymphoma, he only knew that above all, he wanted to live. Troubled by a persistent chest cough, he had sought help from his internist, Winthrop�s Richard Colucci, MD, Voluntary Attending, Department of Medicine. When Dr. Colucci�s suspicions were raised by troubling results of both blood tests and chest X-rays, he referred Mr. Mastrianni to Winthrop oncologist, Leo Wiener, MD, also a Voluntary Attending.

    Diagnosed with lymphoma, Mr. Mastrianni responded dramatically and positively to standard chemotherapy, administered by Dr. Wiener � at first. Within a month, the symptoms had returned. Dr. Wiener recognized that the virulent disease had renewed its deadly spread through Mr. Mastrianni�s lymph nodes to his upper chest, neck, armpits, and even to the pericardium � the lining of the heart. In the throes of a critical relapse, Mr. Mastrianni was referred as a potential transplant patient to Winthrop�s Division of Oncology/Hematology. There, he was treated by a clinical team, overseen by Jeffrey G. Schneider, MD, Faculty Attending.

    Mr. Mastrianni underwent transplantation, and today, enjoys a complete remission. He is totally asymptomatic.

    �I am very grateful to my physicians for what they have done for me,� Mr. Mastrianni said. �I have my health back! My hair grew back, and I even regained the 30 pounds I had lost. I am gradually returning to all my sports activities � working out in the gym, playing tennis, bowling, and basketball. I had great doctors, and wonderful care at Winthrop.�

    Since the program began in 1997, Winthrop physicians have had excellent results with stem cell transplants. For example, 56-year-old Henry Schmitt, also of Rockville Centre, underwent a double transplant, and is in complete remission. Following the procedure, patients are monitored closely for both disease and treatment-related complications.

    The treatment begins with the recruitment, or collection, of the patient�s stem cells through a safe filtration process known as �leukapheresis.� Next, the cells are cryopreserved, or frozen, in a special solvent, and stored in laboratory freezers. The patient undergoes intense chemotherapy, with medication strengths up to 40 times the intensity normally tolerable. There may be related side effects, such as weakness and dehydration, which are only temporary. At the conclusion of chemotherapy, the patient�s preserved stem cells are thawed and reinfused into the body, where they produce cancer-free blood.

    Winthrop�s oncologists, Harry Staszewski, MD, Chief, Oncology/ Hematology, Dr. Schneider, and Alexander Hindenburg, MD, Faculty Attendings, are part of the Winthrop team which works collaboratively with community-based physicians such as Drs. Colucci and Wiener.

    Stem cell transplantation patients at Winthrop are admitted to the Hospital�s dedicated Oncology Unit, where the oncology team � nurses, pharmacists, patient care associates, and oncologists, among other caregivers � provides compassionate, comprehensive clinical care.

    For further information, call Winthrop�s Oncology-Hematology Service at (516) 663-2310.

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