Mark Walters, MD
Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation (BMT) Program
Division of Hematology/Oncology
Residency: University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals, Seattle
Fellowship: University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals, Seattle
Board Certification: Pediatric Hematology Oncology
Dr. Walters is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist with a career interest in hematopoietic cell transplantation for hereditary non-malignant disorders. He has established a national and international reputation in this academic area of interest. Dr. Walters has led the Blood and Marrow Transplant team at Children’s Hospital Oakland since 1999. He is also the medical director of our Sibling Donor Cord Blood Program. He has published a number of peer-reviewed articles and has received NIH grant awards to support this important work.
(Please see the Bone and Marrow Transplantation and Sibling Donor Cord Blood Program descriptions below.)
Every year, approximately 8,600 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States and 1,500 children die from the disease(1). It is estimated that a marrow or cord blood transplant could benefit more than 10,000 children and adults with life threatening diseases each year(2).
Blood and marrow transplantation
Bone marrow contains blood-producing cells that originate in the spongy center of bones. A portion of these blood-producing cells can be collected from a donor who shares the same transplantation characteristics or ‘HLA-type’ as that of the child receiving the transplant. Before the bone marrow transplant procedure, the recipient’s bone marrow cells are destroyed by radiation and/or chemotherapy. The destroyed cells are then replaced with the donor’s healthy bone marrow cells.
Sibling donor cord blood transplantation
The Sibling Donor Cord Blood Program is the first to provide a unique treatment option for families with children who have cancer, leukemia and other blood disorders, and who are expecting the birth of a new sibling. The program facilitates the collection, transport and storage of umbilical cord blood after the delivery of a healthy sibling newborn. If the cord blood collected is HLA-matched with the affected child, this cord blood can be used for a transplantation procedure. Cord blood collection is non-invasive, painless and relatively simple.
After the umbilical cord blood is collected, it is transported to a stem cell bank where it is analyzed and stored. When the cord blood unit is needed, it can be transported to any medical center in the country for transplantation. Cord blood collected by the Sibling Donor Cord Blood Program has been used in 54 transplantation procedures nationwide for children with incurable blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia and advanced leukemia.
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