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Hematology and Oncology Center

If we had one wish, it would be to make it so that no child would ever have to suffer from any kind of illness. Here at the Cook Children's Hematology and Oncology Center, we are working every day on medical treatments and research to help make the blood disorders and cancers that hurt children and teens, disappear.

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Stem Cell Transplant program

Since 1986, Cook Children's has performed more than 1,000 pediatric bone marrow and stem cell transplants. Today, stem cell transplantation is routinely used as treatment for many patients suffering from hematologic malignancies, non-hematologic malignancies, some blood disorders, metabolic disorders and immunodeficiencies.

A stem cell transplant is a potentially life-saving treatment for children with a variety of diseases. With more than 40-50 total autologous and allogeneic transplants performed in children with cancer, blood disorders or inherited conditions each year, Cook Children's has one of the more diverse and experienced pediatric transplant programs in the Southwest United States. Our program is a member of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium and the Children's Oncology Group stem cell transplant section. We also are accredited through the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy. Cook Children's began the unrelated donor (URD) program in 1993 for patients receiving transplants from unrelated marrow or cord blood unit donors. Since the program's development, unrelated transplants now account for nearly 45 percent of the transplants performed at Cook Children's. In 2012, we opened a new state-of-the-art, nine-bed stem cell transplant unit. As with all of our specialized programs, we provide multidisciplinary care involving a dedicated team of experts in stem cell transplant, both clinical and non-clinical.

Diseases treated with stem cell transplant:

Median length of stay:

Neuroblastoma program

Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid tumor in children. The most frequent presenting location is the abdomen, with a mass arising from the adrenal gland. Initial symptoms are often vague and vary by location. Because neuroblastoma symptoms can be similar to symptoms of other more common diseases, there is often a delay in making the diagnosis.

Unfortunately, half of all neuroblastomas will spread to other parts of the body by the time suspicions are raised and a diagnosis is made. A biopsy of the tumor and the results of urine and bone marrow tests are necessary to make the diagnosis.

Some neuroblastomas go away without any treatment and others are treated with surgery and/or limited chemotherapy. However, most patients diagnosed with neuroblastoma will already have metastatic disease at diagnosis and will require intense multimodality therapy such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplantation and targeted or biologic therapy. Treatment is determined based on the child's age, tumor location, where the tumor has spread and the biology of the tumor.

Most children with neuroblastoma will undergo surgery at some point during their treatment, either before or after chemotherapy. High-dose chemotherapy and stem cell rescue is used to consolidate good responses after induction chemotherapy and surgery.

Neuroblastoma clinical trials

Cook Children's offers new therapy approaches for neuroblastoma patients who have not had success with standard chemotherapy or for those facing relapse.

We are a member of New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT), a clinical trial consortium comprised of 15 hospitals and universities strongly committed to neuroblastoma research in patients with relapsed and refractory disease. Through NANT, we are able to offer clinical trials with new drugs and new combinations that specifically target neuroblastoma and are not available elsewhere.

Targeted radiation therapy

One of the therapies Cook Children's offers is I-131 metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) therapy, a clinical research trial providing an experimental radioactive isotope that delivers radiation directly to the cancer cells in neuroblastoma tumors and metastases. Cook Children's is the only pediatric center in the Southwest United States to offer MIBG therapy. Children receiving MIBG therapy stay in a special lead-lined room designed to minimize radiation exposure to the family and staff caring for the patient. During this time, parents can stay in an adjoining suite, so they can be comfortable and interact with their child through a window. Parents also can wear protective clothing and go into the room with their child for a limited time each day. The hospital stay lasts about five to seven days, until the radiation levels decrease.

Hematology and Oncology team

Meghan Granger, M.D. – Neuroblastoma and Stem Cell Transplant Program
Specialties: Hematology/Oncology

Education: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Ark.
Residency: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
Fellowship: Children’s Memorial, Chicago, Ill.; Children’s Medical Center, Dallas, Texas


Kelly Vallance, M.D. – Pediatric Hematologist and Oncologist
Specialties: Hematology/Oncology

Education: Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, La.
Residency: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass.
Fellowship: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.

Dr. Vallance joined the Cook Children's Family in 2009 and specializes in treating childhood cancer. She has special interests in kidney cancers and genetic syndromes that predispose children to developing cancer.


Karen Albritton, M.D. – Medical Director, Adolescent and Young Adult Program Hematology and Oncology Center
Specialties: Hematology/Oncology

Education: University of Texas Medical School, San Antonio, Texas
Residency: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Fellowship: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Awards/Recognition: Living Magazine: Best Doctors in America List 2015-2016, Super Doctors® Texas 2015


Paul Bowman, M.D. – Senior Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist
Chair Leukemia Foundation

Specialties: Hematology/Oncology

Education: University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
Residency: University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
Fellowship: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.

Awards/Recognition: Living Magazine: Best Doctors in America List 2015-2016, Super Doctors® Texas 2015


Gretchen Eames, M.D., MPH – Medical Director Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant Program
Specialties: Hematology/Oncology

Education: University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Residency: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
Fellowship: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.

Awards/Recognition: Living Magazine: Best Doctors in America List 2015-2016

Cook Children's Hematology and Oncology team participates in several national and international cancer clinical trial cooperative groups and registries including:

Referral forms

Need help referring a patient?
Please call the International Patient Services department at +1-682-885-4685, send faxes to +1-682-885-2557, or email