Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: Pediatric Hematology / Oncology Training

Each year, seven fellows enter the fellowship training program through the Subspecialty Matching Services of the National Resident Matching Program. The foundations for comprehensive patient care are established during the first year through intensive hands-on patient-focused training at both Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and NYPH-WMC. The second and third years of the fellowship are dedicated to providing the training for a meaningful research experience, with capacity for publication, independent grant support, and recognition.

Clinical Training

Dr. Richard J. O'Reilly Dr. Richard J. O’Reilly Chair, Department of Pediatrics; Chief, Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Service; Claire L. Tow Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research

The foundation of a successful research training program is intensive subspecialty training in hematology and cancer medicine. Before research training can begin, the trainee must be grounded in the fundamentals of comprehensive patient care. Patient-focused clinical training provides the trainee with unparalleled experience in the management of hematologic and oncologic disorders; standard and investigational treatment; and informed consent. In addition to providing insight on the important issues in cancer medicine and hematology, the program is also designed to meet all subspecialty training requirements.

In the first year of the training program, fellows are assigned to 11 separate clinical rotations, each of which lasts one month. Fellows spend two months in the inpatient pediatric oncology unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering; two months on the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering; two months on the inpatient and consultation service at NYPH-WMC; two months on the outpatient service at NYPH-WMC; two months in the outpatient oncology service at Memorial Sloan Kettering; and one month of electives (i.e., transfusion medicine, HLA typing, stem cell therapy laboratories, and special coagulation laboratories).

During the rotations at NYPH-WMC, fellows participate in specific clinics that focus on the diagnosis and management of hemoglobinopathies (sickle cell disease and thalassemia), hemophilia, and platelet disorders. Fellows also participate in the general hematology consultation service. During rotations at MSKCC, fellows receive intensive exposure to every aspect of cancer in children and young adults, with emphasis on novel techniques for diagnosis and treatment. They will participate in an intensive experience in both allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplantation for the treatment of both malignant and nonmalignant conditions.

In the first year of fellowship, each fellow is assigned an advisor/mentor from the faculty to aid career development. Faculty mentors meet with fellows on a regular basis to provide support and guidance during their fellowship and beyond. Toward the end of the first year, mentors aid the fellow in selecting a preceptor for the research training years of the fellowship.
During the second and third years of fellowship, each fellow conducts research under the mentorship of a faculty preceptor from Memorial Sloan Kettering/Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI), The Rockefeller University, or the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University/Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

Research Training

The fellowship program is dedicated to fostering exceptional careers in pediatric hematology/oncology by providing not only superb clinical training but also by providing the fellow with the resources to excel in research. Many graduates of the program are today's leaders in the field. Protected research time during the second and third years of fellowship provides fellows with the opportunity to conduct both basic science research and clinical research.

Clinical Research

During the research training period, trainees learn how to develop a focused clinical question, as well as to design the clinical trial. Trainees work with their preceptors to not only formulate a hypothesis but also to determine the trial methodology. Fellows are also responsible for writing the protocol, monitoring data with their preceptors, and presenting the results at institutional, national and international academic conferences.

The department sponsors nearly 90 Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved clinical trials. Many of these are phase I and II studies investigating new drugs and biological agents developed at Memorial Sloan Kettering. The most important trend in the department's research program is the increasing exploration of therapies involving agents other than cytotoxic drugs. Examples include radio-immunoconjugates for the treatment of advanced neuroblastoma; novel antitumor vaccines; and agents that block signal transduction pathways.

View database of Memorial Sloan Kettering pediatric clinical trials.

Laboratory Research

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellows, who choose to pursue laboratory research training, are integrated into the larger research community. This rich community includes not only the investigators at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, many of whom are faculty of the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, but also those of the Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and The Rockefeller University. An active calendar of lectures, seminars, and distinguished scientist visits is maintained in order to promote a vigorous scientific dialogue among the staff scientists, research trainees from MSKCC, and those of neighboring institutions.

Fellows entering their research period of their fellowship training will have a choice of laboratories within Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (including Sloan Kettering Institute), the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College of Cornell University/Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and The Rockefeller University.

The fellows participate as active members in the mentors' laboratories, as well as attend laboratory meetings and journal clubs. The mentor regularly provides supervision of ongoing work at meetings with the trainee to assure success in his or her research endeavors. Fellows graduating from the training program have published in major peer-reviewed journals; successfully applied for research grants (NIH-sponsored and privately funded); received numerous research awards; and have become leaders in their respective fields of research.