BMT Pathology

  • Hans Minderman, PhD, and Orla Maguire, Flow Cytometry Specialist, use advanced imaging techniques to increase diagnostic accuracy.

Accurate Diagnosis is Key

Blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) patients interact with many doctors during the course of their treatment, but rarely do they meet the specialist who plays a critical role in the outcome: the pathologist who diagnoses their cancer by analyzing samples of blood, tissue and body fluid. Precise diagnosis is what drives patient decisions and therapy. If the pathology is wrong, everything that follows will likely be incorrect as well.

It takes years of training and a specific skill set to become an expert pathologist. After medical school, doctors complete a minimum of four years in a pathology training program and generally pursue additional training in a subspecialty.

Never before in history have pathologists been so critically important. There’s an explosion of information about markers and genomic analysis that can help pinpoint cancers and predict which one will be more aggressive than the other.

Game-Changer: Roswell Park pathologists have reported a 10 percent change in overall cancer diagnoses that were made outside of Roswell Park.

Pathology Expertise for Early Detection of GVHD

After you undergo blood or marrow transplantation, our pathology team can give early warning if graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a serious complication of BMT, should develop. GVHD affects specific organs — usually the small and large intestines, stomach, liver, skin, and sometimes lungs. Through careful examination of tissues taken in follow-up biopsies, the pathologist can spot changes that may be caused by GVHD, distinguish GVHD from infections that may be the source of the symptoms, and catch the disease early on, when it can be treated more easily.