Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
My specialty is bone marrow transplantation and cellular therapy to treat a wide variety of genetic disorders and cancers.
With a background in stem cell biology, I'm working on new ways to cure children of terrible diseases. Taking care of the patient is the single most important thing I do. But since we can't cure every disease, clinical trials help us learn how to better take care of patients. We combine our state-of-the-art clinical care with the development of new approaches to treatment. I've always loved science and love taking care of kids and doing scientific research.
Here at Children's Hospital, we pioneered the use of bone marrow cells to treat certain childhood cancers as well as certain genetic diseases. We are making great strides in making bone marrow transplantation more effective for a variety of patients.
For patients and families, it's important to explain what we propose to do, what we offer, and why we are doing what we do. Patients are intimately involved in their medical care and are part of the team, as are their families. It's key to talk to the kids, not just to their parents. It helps the child bond with you when you explain what you are doing. And when patients aren't feeling well, they can better communicate this back to you.
My research has pioneered the study of a certain kind of cell called mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC). These cells are able to support hematopoiesis (blood cell production.) I serve as director of the mesenchymal stem cell transplant program at Children's Hospital. We are proud to have been the leader of clinical applications of MSC during the last decade. We look at the cells in the laboratory to help translate their use at the bedside, and study their transplantation into patients to treat cancer and genetic disorders of childhood.
Children's Hospital is a truly outstanding place for kids with a serious disease. If a child has an ear infection, every doctor is wonderful. But when the disease is more serious or even life-threatening, you want the child to be in a major medical institution with all the expert care options available. For kids who need bone marrow transplantation, Children's Hospital is that kind of place.