Pediatric Hematology-Oncology; Pediatrics
I am a pediatric hematologist/oncologist. I see young patients who are admitted to the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In addition to my clinical practice, I have a keen interest in hematological malignancies and the use of targeted therapies in their treatment. As a fellow in the lymphoma translational research laboratory at RPCI, I began investigating novel therapeutic anti-CD20 antibodies in cell-line and xenograft models of rituximab resistant B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL). Based on my initial findings with the antibody ofatumumab, the University at Buffalo granted me the Dr. Henry C. and Bertha H. Buswell Fellowship, an award for promising physician-scientists who are in the beginning stages of their careers. The award allowed me to continue my work with this novel monoclonal antibody and begin exploring why B-cell lymphoma cells become resistant to multiple therapeutic modalities, including anti-CD20 immunotherapy and traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy. For children with relapsed/refractory disease, this resistance portends a survival rate that is less than 20 percent.
Using cell-line models of resistant disease and a variety of techniques such as gene expression profiling, phosphoproteomics, phospho-flow cytometry and western blotting, I have sought to characterize aberrant signal transduction pathway activation in the setting of resistant B-NHL and the ability to target relevant pathways as a means to overcome or bypass therapeutic resistance. These efforts have led to collaborative research with several investigators throughout the country who have similar interests, e.g., the clinical investigation of the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab in childhood B-NHL.
In addition to my basic science and translational research, I am involved in developing trials that investigate other novel therapies in the setting of relapsed/refractory disease. I am co-PI of an investigator-initiated trial studying the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody obinutuzumab, in combination with chemotherapy, for relapsed/refractory childhood B-NHL. I am also an industry-sponsored investigator researching the role of rituximab in the treatment of de novo childhood mature B-NHL. Additionally, I serve on the study committees of ongoing clinical trials through the Children’s Oncology Group.
I often supervise residents on their research projects and periodically welcome medical students, college students and high school students to work with me in the lab—mostly as part of the RPCI summer research program.
I teach medical students, residents and fellows rotating through pediatric hematology and oncology, in outpatient clinics and at the bedside on inpatient units. Using brief impromptu lectures/discussions, I also teach these trainees about disease processes they encounter as they rotate through hematology/oncology. I also lecture the pediatric residents during the hematology/oncology portion of their didactic series. Additionally, I teach our hematology/oncology fellows, in small-group didactic lectures and in both inpatient and outpatient clinical encounters.