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BIRMINGHAM (Sept. 1, 2020) — Clinical trials currently in progress at Children’s of Alabama may soon bring life-saving treatment for young patients facing cancer and blood disorders around the world.
Brain tumors, sickle cell disease, leukemia, blood clots, survivorship and more are all top of mind for the more than 300 dedicated pediatric healthcare professionals at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama. Alongside colleagues from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), this team provides care and treatment for nearly 2,000 children and adolescents with all types of cancers and blood disorders in the state and the surrounding region each year.
Each September, the community recognizes these young warriors during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month. Last year, nearly 200 children in Alabama were diagnosed with cancer and blood diseases. More than 90 percent of Alabama’s children with these illnesses receive treatment at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama.
Girish Dhall, MD, division director for the Hematology, Oncology, and Blood & Marrow Transplantation program at Children’s and UAB Department of Pediatrics, said he expects the number of clinical trials to grow at the state’s only freestanding pediatric hospital. The research and innovative therapies done at Children’s and UAB will help save the lives of children right down the street and all over the world.
“Most of our patients have life threatening conditions and cannot afford delays in their treatment, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Dhall said. “All our faculty and staff, including our receptionists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians and clinical research coordinators, have tried to make sure that we maintain consistency when it comes to treating our patients during these testing times. We even continued to enroll patients in clinical trials, especially when a particular clinical trial was the only available option for patients and their families.”
A summary of some of the current patient care programs and ongoing research advancements at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders Children’s of Alabama is available at insidepeds.org/category/inside-pediatrics/hematology-and-oncology/.
None of this extraordinary patient care or promising research would be possible without generous support from the community and families who have been affected by pediatric cancers and blood disorders.
One way the community can support the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama is by purchasing the Curing Childhood Cancer specialty car tag that is available at every office of the Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles. Every $50 tag generates $41.25 for the cancer program at Children’s. To date, tag sales have raised more than $3.7 million for childhood cancer research and patient care. When state residents renew or purchase a Curing Childhood Cancer tag, they are providing valuable funds for patient care, research and specialized physician training for the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama. For more information about the Curing Childhood Cancer tag, visit www.childrensal.org/committedtoacure.
Another way to support the young patients facing childhood cancer and blood disorders is by registering as a potential blood and marrow donor. The Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at Children’s of Alabama – the state’s only dedicated pediatric bone marrow transplant facility – specializes in therapies for deadly cancers and blood disorders including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell disease. At Children’s, approximately 30 patients receive this lifesaving procedure every year.
Joining the Be The Match Registry® means volunteering to be listed as a potential bone marrow donor, ready to save the life of any patient in need of a transplant. Anyone can easily join the registry by completing a health questionnaire and performing a simple mouth swab. If recognized as a match, they will be contacted about donating. For those who are unable to Donor kits with step-by-step instructions can be requested at join.bethematch.org/ChildrensAL.
About Children’s of Alabama
Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama and 42 other states last year, representing more than 684,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 3.5 million square feet, Children’s is one of the largest pediatric medical facilities in the United States. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the teaching hospital for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, psychiatry, research and residency programs. The medical staff consists of UAB faculty and Children’s of Alabama’s full-time physicians as well as private practicing community physicians.
About The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders
The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders provides care and treatment for children and adolescents with all types of cancers and blood disorders. The center serves more than 1,500 cancer and sickle cell patients each year. The team of more than 300 dedicated pediatric healthcare professionals provides exceptional patient care, education and research. As a member of multiple national consortiums, research and innovative therapies done at Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham will help save the lives of children right down the street and all over the world. More information is available at www.childrensal.org/cancer.