PHILADELPHIA — Penn Medicine will establish the Philadelphia region’s first dedicated center for the treatment and research of blood diseases by combining the expertise of physicians who specialize in the care of blood disorder patients of all ages along with basic science and clinical researchers who are working to advance treatments for these illnesses. The Penn-CHOP Blood Center for Patient Care and Discovery will bring together a multi-disciplinary team of experts to provide cutting edge patient care and research for diseases including sickle cell disease, thalassemia, bone marrow failure, and bleeding and clotting disorders.
The effort will include Perelman School of Medicine hematology faculty from both Penn Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who will work closely with pathology, laboratory, and transfusion medicine physicians and scientists, pharmacologists, investigators in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics and the Penn Cardiovascular Institute, among others.
Blood disorders afflict millions of people in the United States. Many of these illnesses, such as hemophilia, are rare, leaving scarce resources for research to improve care for patients who have them. Others, such as blood clots in legs or in the lungs, kill up to one hundred thousand people in the United States each year. But, they frequently strike with little warning, and the public is often unaware of common risk factors and signs to watch for. The Penn-CHOP Blood Center for Patient Care and Discovery will foster research collaborations to spur the next generation of treatments for these patients, and provide more avenues to recruit and train new experts in the field.
“Care for blood disorders spans many different areas of medicine, but patients with these illness are often not able to access or coordinate the range of specialists needed to best manage their care,” said Charles Abrams, MD, professor and associate chief of Hematology-Oncology, who will serve as director of the new Blood Center. “Penn Medicine’s expertise in both clinical care and research for hematologic conditions provides us with a solid foundation to enhance options for patients. We hope to serve as a center for research and discovery and as an incubator for the most promising new approaches to preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses.”
Smoothing the transition between pediatric and adult care will also be a top priority for the new center.
“A number of chronic hematologic disorders first become apparent at birth or during childhood and have traditionally been managed by pediatric hematologists,” said Adam Cuker, MD, MS, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, who will assume the role of associate director of clinical research in the Blood Center. “As care for these conditions has improved, patients are living well into adulthood. A major priority for the center is to foster cooperation between pediatric and adult hematologists at CHOP and Penn and to provide a seamless transition of care for our patients.”
Patients seeking an appointment with the Blood Center can obtain more information at http://www.pennmedicine.org/blood-disorders-center.