How We Treat Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis

Timely treatment is very important for patients with HLH, as the condition is often fatal. The first treatments suppress the immune system, which helps decrease the damage to a patient’s body by stopping the inflammation.

Treatment may include:

  • Steroids and chemotherapy
  • Antibody therapy to destroy certain immune cells
  • Medicines that suppress the immune system
  • Medicines to help treat existing infections and to prevent new infections
  • Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT)

HLH can be controlled with a few weeks of treatment. However, it may flare up again later, especially as treatment is decreased. In order to be cured of HLH many must have their immune systems replaced by means of a bone marrow transplant (BMT). Your doctor can tell you if this is the case for you or your child. Often, patients who have a successful BMT go on to lead full, productive lives.

Our Bone Marrow Transplant Program

The Bone Marrow Transplantation Program specializes in the treatment of multiple disease types. Our multidisciplinary team has performed more than 2,000 hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCTs) since the program was founded in 1986. Currently the program averages 100 transplants each year, making us one of the largest programs in the United States. Our researchers have created exciting and new HSCT approaches for many rare diseases. Cincinnati Children’s continues to be recognized by the international community as a center for excellence.

We offer therapies and techniques that are not widely available. For example, we have extensive experience in the use of reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) regimens, a transplant procedure that offers lower doses of chemotherapy, which can offer improved outcomes in very high-risk patients. We have pioneered the application of this RIC approach to diseases such as HLH. Additionally, we have partnered with industry to create new treatment options that allow many children with HLH to reach HSCT for an ultimate cure.

How Are We Different?

  • Most experienced HLH Center
  • We perform the most bone marrow transplants for HLH
  • Leading the field in research and innovation