Over the past several years my research has involved new approaches to transplantation that reduce transplant-related complications and enhance patients’ immune reconstitution after transplant. These approaches are making transplantation an option for new and expanding populations of patients. This research has also been integral to our developing an adult Survivorship Program for stem cell transplant patients, and has instigated the development of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s 65+ Program for older adults.
In collaboration with colleagues throughout the Center, physicians of the 65+ Program created an assessment tool for older adult patients which is now used by cancer centers throughout the country to evaluate patients prior to treatment. This tool is being incorporated into the screening of older adult patients prior to transplant to assist the physicians in selecting the type of transplant best suited to each patient.
In our Survivorship Clinic, where patients who have undergone transplant receive follow-up care, we have established a program to monitor post-transplant complications in patients of all ages. By reviewing characteristics and outcomes of patients who have already undergone transplant with subspecialists in all of the major medical areas, we identify complications; adapt our screening, treatment, and monitoring programs; and conduct research to improve these outcomes. The results of this monitoring program are being used to help design studies of new transplant methods and to alter transplants to reduce the time that a patient’s immune system is suppressed afterward.
On the national level, my membership on an expert committee for tissue, gene, and cell therapy of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) — a non-governmental, official public standards-setting authority for healthcare products — has given me the opportunity to participate in the process of standardizing treatment modalities that are at the forefront of medical care and transplantation.