I am a board-certified medical oncologist with a clinical and research focus on bone marrow failure syndromes, including myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and aplastic anemia. Because these conditions can sometimes turn into acute leukemia, I also have experience in the treatment of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). My research interests also include the study of “therapy-related” MDS and leukemia, which can develop after treatment with radiation or chemotherapy for another cancer.
I feel fortunate to be at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where we have a team approach to managing bone marrow failure syndromes. I work with pathologists who are dedicated to the study and review of bone marrow samples, and a stem cell transplant program that offers a full range of stem cell transplant options, including stem cell transplants for people with marrow diseases up to the age of 70.
One of the strengths of our program is our ability to accurately diagnose bone marrow failure syndromes, which can mimic many other conditions. For our diagnostic skills and in-depth research program in these diseases, the MDS Foundation has designated Memorial Sloan Kettering a Center of Excellence.
Because of their complexity, bone marrow failure syndromes require a carefully-thought-out, evolving care plan. One of my goals is to educate and empower my patients so they can participate fully in decision-making about their care. I also encourage patients to participate in clinical trials, because we need more and better treatments. For example, currently there are only three FDA-approved treatments for MDS.
I am an investigator on many clinical trials that will hopefully lead to the development of new treatments for people with MDS and leukemia. I am particularly interested in “epigenetic” therapies, which restore the ability of bone marrow cells to use genetic information needed to make blood cells. In addition, I collaborate extensively with laboratory scientists both within Memorial Sloan Kettering and at other institutions to learn more about the blood and bone marrow abnormalities in patients with these diseases. We then use those new discoveries to develop new treatments. I am an author of numerous manuscripts describing clinical trials, including those that led to FDA approval of treatments for MDS.
- Clinical Expertise: Myelodysplastic Syndromes; Aplastic Anemia; Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
- Residencies: Internal Medicine - North Shore University Hospital; Internal Medicine - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Fellowships: Medical Hematology/Oncology - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Board Certifications: Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology
Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.
Clinical Trials Led by Virginia M. Klimek
Clinical Trials Co-Investigated by Virginia M. Klimek
- A Feasibility Study of Induction Chemotherapy Followed by G-CSF-Mobilized Stem Cells from Partially Matched Donors to Treat Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in Elderly Patients
- A Phase III Study of ASP2215 versus Standard Salvage Chemotherapy for Recurrent or Persistent Acute Myelogenous Leukemia with an FLT3 Mutation
- A Study Comparing Reduced-Intensity Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation with Best Supportive Therapy in Older Patients with Myelodysplastic Syndromes
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