Omar Aljitawi, MD, member of the Cancer Biology Program at The University of Kansas Cancer Center and associate professor of hematology/oncology at The University of Kansas Medical Center, has just completed a pilot clinical trial that tested the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to improve the outcomes of umbilical cord blood transplant patients.

The preliminary data from a small first trial showed positive results and could pave the way towards a simple and safe way of making umbilical cord blood transplants more effective.

“After doing more research into umbilical cord blood transplants, I noticed that a big problem with the transplant process was engraftment,” he said. Engraftment is when the transplanted stem cells make their way to the bone marrow and start making new, healthy blood cells. “I wanted to figure out a way to improve that process and make the transplants more successful.”