Bewegung & Krebs

Physical Intervention Program for Children and Adolescents under Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

In cooperation with the Children’s Hospital (Heidelberg University Hospital), the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Institute of Sports and Sport Science (Heidelberg University).

Other sites/cooperation

Faculty of Sport Science, Leipzig University and Department for Pediatric- and Gynecologic Medicine, Leipzig University Hospital.

Principal investigators:
Dr. Anne Zielinski, PD Dr. Joachim Wiskemann

Co-Principal investigators:
Prof. Dr. Andreas Kulozik, Prof. Dr. Olaf Witt


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a promising treatment for some severe hematological and oncological diseases or immunodeficiency. However, it is associated with many complications with alarming adverse effects on patients’ physical performance and quality of life (Qol). Several studies show reduced muscle strength, dysfunction of the cardiovascular system, obesity, fatigue and decreased quality of life (Qol) in patients already during and even long after HSCT. At present interventions studies in paediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients are almost absent although in adult patients there at the meantime remarkable evidence for the physical and psychological benefit of such a physical intervention.
This multicenter controlled study is an ongoing project aimed to evaluate the potential benefits of a structure modular intervention program for patients under HSCT during the acute phase of treatment compared to treatment-as-usual. Across two years patients of the Children’s Hospital of the University Clinic of Heidelberg getting hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, aged 5-21 years, free of any contraindications for physical activity will be recruited. All participants are asked to complete a physical assessment battery (strength, endurance and balance capacity, functional mobility, range of motion) and additionally two questionnaires concerning Qol and motivation, at baseline and every four weeks until time of discharge. After baseline, at the time of hospital admission, the intervention program starts directly or after a short waiting period. During their inpatient hospitalization the participants perform 3-5x weekly guided training sessions about 15-30min. The intervention includes: game console-based training using Nintendo Wii® (endurance, strength endurance and balance), age-specific resistance training and sessions of body awareness.

Funded by Dietmar Hopp Foundation.


PD Dr. Joachim Wiskemann
Phone.: +49 6221 56-5904