Many of the types of cancer that arise in young adults are quite rare, and very few oncologists have experience treating them. Some young adults have a form of cancer that is seen much more commonly in children and adolescents. The team with the greatest expertise in managing their specific disease may therefore be based in the Department of Pediatrics. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we believe that the most important service we provide to patients is a multidisciplinary healthcare team.
In addition to patient care, I direct clinical research aimed at developing and evaluating new therapies for sarcomas. I served for five years as Head of the Bone Sarcoma Strategy Group for the Children's Cancer Group, where I directed national clinical trials for osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma. I have also conducted clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering for the treatment of newly diagnosed and recurrent osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, undifferentiated sarcoma, and other unusual tumors that occur in children and young adults.
One area of study that I feel passionate about is the evaluation of muramyl tripeptide phosphatidyl ethanolamine (MTP-PE), a promising drug for osteosarcoma which has been approved for use in Europe. It increases the ability of white blood cells to attack osteosarcoma tumor cells and to help the body to destroy the tumor.
Education is another important part of my role at Memorial Sloan Kettering. I serve as Vice Chair of Academic Affairs in the Department of Pediatrics. Memorial Sloan Kettering is proud to offer one of the most comprehensive training programs in pediatric hematology/oncology in the country. With a very large number of patients and a faculty with decades of experience, our trainees see an unparalleled variety of clinical challenges. Fellows also have the benefit of working with nearby institutions such as Weill Cornell Medical College and The Rockefeller University.
As a result of my patient care experience and research, I have authored or co-authored over 135 publications about sarcomas. In recognition of my work, I received the Willet E. Whitmore Award for Clinical Excellence from Memorial Sloan Kettering in 1995. I served as president of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society, a leading academic society devoted to the study of sarcomas. I am a member of the National Cancer Institute Physician Data Query Pediatric Board.
I am also the founding medical director for Happiness is Camping, a summer camp for children with cancer. I have had the extraordinary opportunity to help give these kids a respite from the rigors of cancer therapy and to see them blossom and thrive away from the hospital environment.