Hematology, Oncology, Neuro-Oncology & Stem Cell Transplantation Updates: Fall 2023

October 23, 2023

New Division Head of Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders

After a national search, Robert Liem, MD, has been named the permanent Division Head of Hematology/Oncology/Neuro-Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant (HONT). In this role, he will be honored as the Meryl Suzanne Weiss Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics. Dr. Liem has been serving as interim Division Head of HONT since early 2022 and has also been the Section Head of Hematology. Dr. Liem also has served as the Associate Chair for Ambulatory Services of the Department of Pediatrics. He is an NIH-funded researcher, who will bring his experiences as an investigator to inform the growth of the division that is anticipated over the next several years. He is also a highly regarded clinician, with particular interest and expertise in management and support of patients with sickle cell anemia.

Growing CAR T-Cell Therapy Program

The CAR T-cell Therapy Program at Lurie Children’s welcomes Kevin McNerney, MD, as a new provider and researcher. His research has focused on understanding the severe toxicities of CAR T-cell therapy and exploring mechanisms to improve outcomes for patients at the greatest risk of relapse. Lurie Children’s also is proud to announce that Lily Zeng, MD, advanced fellow in stem cell transplantation and cellular therapies, received a two-year Hyundai Hope on Wheels Young Investigator Grant Award to study why relapse remains high after CAR T-cell therapy. Her lab research seeks to understand how leukemia cells lose the CD19 marker and evade CAR T-cells.

Making Mice That Could Save Children’s Lives

By replicating a child’s brain tumor in a mouse, scientists hope to better understand the biology of these cancers and find new treatments for some deadly childhood diseases. Read the article in Nature Magazine.

Lurie Children’s Designated Zynteglo Qualified Treatment Center

Lurie Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is the first in Illinois and one of only 12 Qualified Treatment Centers (QTCs) in the country to administer the first novel gene therapy Zynteglo for patients with transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia. While Lurie Children’s became a Zynteglo QTC in April 2023, the hospital has been involved with the therapy much earlier as a clinical trials site. Sonali Chaudhury, MD, and Sherif Badawy, MD, are the QTC co-leads.