Providing Pediatric Cancer Patient Care
At the Pediatric Blood and Cancer Center, Long School of Medicine pediatric hematology and oncology physicians are providing advanced and compassionate patient care, participating in cutting-edge research, and making clinical trials from around the world available to their patients.
The center is a collaboration between UT Health San Antonio and University Health System (UHS).
Gail Tomlinson, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, professor of pediatrics, and Greehey Distinguished Chair in Genetics and Cancer, describes the center as a comprehensive program that follows patients throughout their lives.
“We diagnose and treat pediatric cancer patients. We help patients and their families cope with the disease. We also try to help them understand the causes of the cancer through genetic screening and counseling. Lastly, we try to better understand the etiology of their tumors so we can help patients in the future,” she said.
Aaron Sugalski, D.O., the center’s medical director and associate professor of pediatrics, said the center is able to offer comprehensive pediatric hematology and oncology care because of its staff: nine full-time faculty physicians, two pediatric nurse practitioners and two pediatric clinical psychologists.
Patients are seen at University Hospital, 4502 Medical Drive, and at UT Health Westgate Medical Center, 5282 Medical Drive.
The Pediatric Blood and Cancer Center, while able to treat all types of pediatric cancer, is hailed as a leader in these areas:
- Comprehensive Hemophilia Treatment Center is the only nationally recognized hemophilia treatment center in the region.
- Sickle Cell & Thalassemia Center offers a team approach to treating children.
- Benign hematology/anemia specialists are nationally renowned.
- Team of specialists diagnoses and treats children with rare diseases of the complement system.
- Center experts diagnose and treat children with vascular anomalies.
- Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program (see story on Pages 18-19) provides expertise in oncology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, psychiatry and behavioral medicine, and social work to those ages 15-39.
- Team members diagnose and treat all types of pediatric leukemia and lymphoma.
- A multidisciplinary approach is taken to treating solid tumors, collaborating with multiple surgical sub-specialists.
- Team members collaborate with UT Health pediatric neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons to treat brain and spinal cord tumors.
- Pediatric patients with histiocytosis, or Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), in many cases are offered institutional and international trials.
- A cancer screening and prevention program is a partnership of UHS, UT Health and the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center.
- Survivorship program offers cancer survivors, family members, friends and caregivers resources for the survivors’ long-term health. These physicians are active in ongoing studies to reduce late effects in survivors.
- Team members work with the obstetrics and gynecology practice at UT Health Physicians to offer children and young adults with cancer a fertility preservation plan.
Dr. Sugalski said patients also have access to clinical trials because of the faculty’s leadership and participation in local to international clinical trials.
CLINICAL TRIAL ACCESS
The Pediatric Blood and Cancer Center is:
- One of 10 sites in the U.S. that is part of the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators’ Consortium (POETIC), which promotes early clinical development of promising therapies for children and young adults.
- A member of the Children’s Oncology Group, an international clinical trials and research consortium, which provides access to clinical trials that can encompass experimental therapies.
- Part of the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), a national network that brings cancer clinical trials and care delivery studies to pediatric underserved populations. Anne-Marie Langevin, M.D., professor of pediatrics and Greehey Chair in Pediatric Oncology, is leading the Texas Pediatric Minority Underserved NCORP in Texas. In 2018, Dr. Langevin received an award from the NCI for her outstanding clinical leadership within the NCORP program.