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Histiocyte Disorders Program

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Children’s National offers the highest level of experience with histiocyte disorders in the entire Washington, D.C. area. Our team includes two of the nation’s leading experts in histiocytosis care and research. We also collaborate with care providers from all over the world who are also involved in the field of histiocyte disorders, allowing us access to national and international approaches to treatment. We offer novel treatments and comprehensive care for all forms of this rare disorder.

Our Providers

Our pediatric specialists provide personalized care for your child’s physical, mental and emotional health needs.

Contact Information

For appointments, please call 1-888-884-BEAR (2327) and for information, call 202-476-7060.

Expert Histiocytosis Care at Children's National: Why Choose Us?

Histiocytosis is a group of conditions that involve too many white blood cells (histiocytes) in your child’s blood. Regardless of your child’s diagnosis or success with previous treatments, we offer advanced care to help your child have the best possible outcome.  

Highlights of our program include:

  • Expertise: Children’s National is home to two of the nation’s leading histiocyte disorder experts: Jay Greenberg, M.D. and Stephan Ladisch, M.D.
  • Serving as a referral center: Parents and physicians from all over the Washington, D.C., area put their trust in the experts at Children’s National. We regularly care for children with rare and life-threatening forms of this disease.
  • Research: We are one of only 10 programs in North America advancing the field of histiocyte disorder care.  We participate in research treatment protocols with select institutions around the country who are investigating the newest approaches using the latest scientific advances for histiocyte disorders. Learn more about our Center for Cancer and Immunology Research.
  • Comprehensive care: Having been in practice more than 30 years each, our experts have a unique appreciation for the progression of histiocytosis. This helps us coordinate and deliver the oncology, hematology, and immunology care your child needs.

Histiocyte disorders we specialize in treating include:

  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH): LCH occurs when your child has too many of a certain type of white blood cells called Langerhans cells. These cells can invade your child’s bones, however LCH is rarely life threatening.
  • Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH): HLH is less common, but it can be life-threatening. In HLH, infection-fighting cells attack and destroy organs. Children with HLH also face a higher-than-normal risk for rare infections. 

Advanced Treatment for Histiocyte Disorders at Children's National

From infectious disease care to novel medications, we offer hope and healing for any histiocytosis disorder. The care that’s best for your child depends on his or her age, diagnosis, and response to previous treatments.

Your child’s treatment may include:

  • Immunosuppressant therapy: Using steroids and special medications known as immunosuppressives, we prevent your child’s immune system from attacking itself.
  • Chemotherapy: Using anti-cancer medications, chemotherapy works by interfering with a histiocyte’s ability to grow or reproduce. We are one of only 10 programs in the world using an aggressive new form of chemotherapy to treat histiocytes.
  • Targeted anti-gene therapy: Using medications or carefully selected toxins, we either increase or decrease gene functions that control your child’s immune system.
  • Blood transfusions: A blood transfusion gives your child a fresh supply of blood from a healthy donor. Because we are one of few programs with an in-house blood donor center, your child always has access to the blood products he or she needs.
  • Clinical trials: Our active participation in multi-center international trials gives your child access to novel treatments that are not widely available. Learn more about research and clinical trials.
  • Bone marrow transplant: A bone marrow transplant is a non-surgical procedure to replace damaged blood-forming cells with healthy, immature donor cells (stem cells). Learn more about our Blood and Marrow Transplant program.
  • Infectious disease care: Our specialists take great care to make sure that your child avoids unnecessary illness while he or she has a compromised immune system. 

Family Resources

At Children’s National, we believe that comprehensive care for children also includes support for their families. We offer a range of special services and programs designed to help children and their families cope and resume some normalcy and predictability in their lives.

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