Orlando Sentinel, May 26, 2011

Puerto Rican adults who need bone marrow transplants have long had to leave the island just to be evaluated on whether they they are good candidates. That will change this summer, however, when Moffitt Cancer Center of Tampa opens the island's first blood and marrow transplant clinic. Starting June 24, Dr. Melissa Alsina, head of Moffitt's Multiple Myeloma Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, will travel to the island one Friday a month. Alsina will see patients who have been referred by a physician as candidates for a blood and marrow transplant. "Currently, there is no allogeneic [donor] bone marrow transplant program for adult patients in Puerto Rico," said Alsina, a native of Puerto Rico. "Therefore, any patient that needs an evaluation for a possible allogeneic stem cell transplant, or follow-up care, must leave the island. This clinic will provide patients the opportunity to have these services in Puerto Rico. I am very excited to be able to provide this service to patients on the island." Patients will still have to leave the island for the transplant, but the new clinic will save them money and time.

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