CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) Cancer Institute has assembled a team of experts in hematologic malignancies, launching a robust new program that focuses on subspecialty care for cancers of the blood and bone marrow—backed by the latest discovery-driven medical concepts, only available at major academic health centers.
Nearly 140,000 adults are diagnosed with a cancer affecting the blood or bone marrow annually in the United States, according the National Cancer Institute. These cancers include multiple myeloma (also known as myeloma), lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s), leukemia (acute and chronic) and myelodysplastic disorders.
Led by Elias Anaissie, MD, and based at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC), the UC Cancer Institute Hematologic Malignancies Program focuses on providing individualized, patient-tailored care plans, while investigating new treatment options through clinical research studies, including phase-1 experimental (first-in-human) trials. The UC Cancer Institute currently has two adult hematologic malignancies clinical trials open to patient accrual, with three additional trials expected to open in the coming months. Through the Cincinnati Cancer Center, the team is working with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center clinical pharmacy and pharmacokinetics team on a phase-1 clinical and translational research trial for pediatric and adult patients.
In the past month, the UC Cancer Institute team has treated dozens of patients from the Greater Cincinnati area as well patients traveling from out of state—with two patients coming from outside the United States. The team has successfully performed 10 bone marrow transplants to date.
Treatment Team, Philosophy
Prior to joining UC, Anaissie spent 16 years as the deputy director of the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Ark. Four additional physicians from the Arkansas myeloma program have also joined the UC team: hematologist and stem cell transplant physician Stephen Medlin
, DO; and oncology hospitalists Nisar Ahmad, MD, Sajjad Haider, MD, and Ali Javed, MD. Medlin previously served as director of allogeneic stem cell transplant at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Two additional hematologists-oncologists specializing in cancers of the blood and bone marrow will join the team by end of year.
The UC Cancer Institute Hematologic Malignancies team includes hematology oncology specialists who focus exclusively on blood cancers as well as dedicated radiation oncologists, cancer and bone marrow transplant-trained hospitalists, pathologists, oncology nurse practitioners and nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, oncology social workers, a nurse educator for patients and caregivers and a director for clinical quality management.
"Our philosophy is based on individualized, patient-specific treatment and is driven by the patient’s holistic needs—medical, spiritual and emotional. All treatment decisions are made as a partnership between the care team and the patient and family, starting with initial diagnosis and through the complete care cycle,” says Anaissie, UC Health medical oncologist and the John & Gladys Strauss Chair in Cancer Research and professor at the UC College of Medicine.
"Patients need immediate access to their team when emergencies or questions arise. With respect to this need, we provide 24/7, 365 day-a-year onsite coverage by physicians experienced in hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplantation.”
Unlike many bone marrow transplantation programs across the United States, the UC Cancer Institute offers treatment in a "one stop” outpatient day hospital setting. Throughout the Tristate region of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, only two other centers—the Cleveland Clinic and Indiana University—offer transplantation services outside the hospital setting
"We want treatment to be comfortable and convenient while minimizing the risk of infection to our patients when they are in active treatment and more susceptible to communicable diseases,” adds Medlin, UC Health hematologist and stem cell transplant physician and associate professor at the UC College of Medicine.
Inpatient care is offered in a dedicated bone marrow transplant unit located on the UC Medical Center’s eighth floor. All aspects of outpatient care and testing occur on one floor at the George L. Strike Bone Marrow Transplant Center, located in the Hoxworth Building, 3130 Highland Ave., including:
- Physician/nurse appointments
- Blood testing and other monitoring through Hoxworth Blood Center
- Outpatient chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation
- Stem cell collection (self and donor)
- Comprehensive support services (social work, financial counseling, nurse coordinator/educator, nutrition consultation, scheduling)
- Patient education library
The center was named in memory of UC Health’s late Board of Trustees Director George L. Strike.
Specialized Stem Cell Collection
In partnership with Hoxworth Blood Center, the UC Cancer Institute Hematologic Malignancies Program is able to offer stem cell collection through leukaphereisis as well as traditional bone marrow harvesting.
With leukapheresis, donors are given a series of shots to encourage stem cells to move from the bone marrow into the bloodstream. Blood is then removed from the donor through an intravenous line in the vein. The part of the white blood cells containing stem cells is separated mechanically before the rest of the blood is returned to the donor.
Traditional stem cell harvesting is done through a surgical procedure where bone marrow is removed from the back of both hip bones.
Treatment With Bone Marrow Transplant
Bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant, is often used to treat cancers that affect the blood and bone marrow. Bone marrow—the soft, fatty tissue inside the bones—contains immature cells (known as stem cells) that give rise to all of the blood cells in the body. The transplant procedure replaces damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells.
The stem cell transplant is then given via a central venous catheter (tube)—similar to receiving a blood transfusion. Stem cells travel through the bloodstream to the bone marrow to begin the regenerative process.
Appointments and Referrals
To learn more about the UC Cancer Institute Hematologic Malignancies team, visit uccancer.com/blood
or call 584-4BMT (4268) or 877-745-1BMT (1268). Clinical trial information is available by calling 513-584-7698 or at uccancer.com/clinicaltrials