Newly Hired Physician to Start Pediatric Bone Marrow and Cellular Therapy Program
At the Haley Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, physicians treating certain types of cancer and blood disorders now have another way to help children and teens fight back.
Rikin K. Shah, MD, a hematologist-oncologist with extensive training in stem cell transplantation, has joined Orlando Health Arnold Palmer.
The Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) and Cellular Therapy team includes oncologists, advanced practice providers, pathologists, radiologists, nurses, therapists, researchers, child life specialists and counselors who work together to help patients and families fight the destruction caused by cancer and blood disorders.
What Is Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy?
A bone marrow transplant treats cancer and other blood or immune system disorders. It replaces the cancerous or damaged cells inside the marrow with healthy stem cells. These stem cells then stimulate new bone marrow growth, which in turn produces blood cells. Stem cells can turn into platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells, which everyone needs to function.
Thanks to a previous multi-million-dollar donation from Roy and Dee Haley, the infrastructure to bring Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy services from a vision to a reality is here – with Dr. Shah and the extended team completing the last piece of the puzzle.
For children, Bone Marrow Transplant offers specific treatment advantages, such as:
- Replacing diseased bone marrow with healthy, functioning bone marrow for conditions such as leukemia, aplastic anemia and sickle cell anemia.
- Regenerating a new immune system that will fight leukemia or other cancers not killed by chemotherapy or radiation.
- Rescuing bone marrow and restoring its normal function after chemotherapy or radiation. This is done for diseases such as lymphoma, neuroblastoma and high-risk brain tumors.
- Replenishing bone marrow with genetically healthy bone marrow to prevent more damage from a genetic disease such as Hurler’s syndrome and adrenoleukodystrophy.
Care Closer to Home
Prior to Dr. Shah’s arrival, children in need of BMT often had to travel to other cities or hospitals to receive treatment, uprooting their lives for approximately four to six weeks as they healed. Now, with support from the Orlando Health Cancer Institute, we offer all the services of a top-rated cancer center and a trusted pediatric hospital. Children can receive a transplant and follow-up care in one location.
Exciting treatments continue to become available at Orlando Health in part due to the generosity of individual donors, as well as corporate partners, grants and other foundations.
To support the ongoing needs of Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy, visit Give.OrlandoHealth.com/PediatricBMT.