By Tracy Clemons

St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - The cancer center at St. Louis University unveiled its brand new outpatient bone marrow transplant center. This is the region's first comprehensive outpatient bone marrow transplant center.

"Fighting cancer is hard enough. But having to do it while confined to a hospital makes it even harder," says SLU Hospital CEO Phillip Sowa. "This allows patients something no other hospital can offer them. The comfort of being home, or being in a setting outside the hospital."

The man behind the center could be one of its first patients.

"Having been in the hospital recently for four weeks, I can only attest to the importance of being able to go home," says Dr. Friederich Schuening. He brought the idea for the center to the medical center, but says he never imagined that he'd seek treatment there. He was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

"I think now, having been on the other side of the road, it really opens up my perception of what the patient's situation is because i'm in the same situation now and experience all the same procedures," Schuening says.

Patients can come to the center, get their transplant during the day, go home, and come back the next day to continue their treatment. If they live more than 30 minutes away, they can stay in a hospital apartment like the Auxiliary House.

Dr. Schuening says there are financial advantages too.

" this time of efforts to decrease healthcare costs is the significantly reduced cost of this approach. Obviously that's much more cost effective than in-patient treatment only."

He says this is just as safe as doing the whole transplant treatment the traditional in-patient way.

This option is for some cancer patients, not all. You can consult with your doctor on whether it's a logical option for you.

Doctors at the center will start seeing patients December 4.

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