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INFORMATION FOR

Hematology

July 11, 2023

Stephanie Halene, MD, Dr Med, section chief

The Section of Hematology continues to grow and enlarge its scope to provide outstanding patient care in classical and malignant hematology, and to expand its research findings.

Clinical Care

Nikolai Podoltsev, MD, PhD, received an award for Excellence in Clinical Care during the annual Yale Cancer Center Conclave. The award is given annually to Yale Cancer Center physicians who best exemplify outstanding clinical care, including superb clinical skills; the use of a patient- and family-centered approach to care; and inclusion of a multidisciplinary care model.

Cecelia Calhoun, MD, MSPH, MBA, is streamlining care for patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). There are about 200 adults and 200 children being seen jointly through the adult and pediatric SCD programs. Inconsistent episodic care in the emergency department (ED) or hospital has been replaced with continuity in outpatient care provided by advanced practice professionals experienced in the care of patients with SCD and opioid use. ED visits and hospitalizations have been reduced dramatically. Both programs include access to social workers and a psychiatrist to help manage the social and psychological issues that can accompany SCD.

Research

The National Cancer Institute honored Markus Müschen, MD, PhD, with its Outstanding Investigator Award. Müschen’s research program leverages negative selection mechanisms of the immune system for the treatment of drug-resistant leukemia and lymphoma—the most frequent types of cancer in children and young adults.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a grant to fund cellular senescence research in lymphoid organs in October 2021. The five-year $6.5 million grant will help generate multiscale molecular and cellular maps of cellular senescence in primary and secondary human lymphoid organs to improve understanding of cellular senescence in development, aging, and disease, including cancer. The research team is led by Rong Fan, PhD; Stephanie Halene, MD, Dr Med; Joseph Craft, MD; Yuval Kluger, PhD; and Mina Xu, MD.

The following faculty presented their research findings at the 2021 American Society of Hematology’s annual meeting:

  • Amer Zeidan, MBBS, shared research showing that it is not cost effective to use the liposomal formulation of cytarabine and daunorubicin (previously known as CPX-351), compared to conventional cytarabine and daunorubicin to treat older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
  • Rory Shallis, MD, shared his work demonstrating that less than a third of older patients with chronic myeloid leukemia had optimal laboratory monitoring, and that only two-thirds were adherent to tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy during the first year after diagnosis.
  • Natalia Neparidze, MD, discussed research showing that white patients had more telemedicine visits for hematologic care during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic than Black patients. The observed disparities require further study into possible causes that include economic and social factors.

The Halene lab published research in Molecular Cell revealing that mutant U2AF1-induced aberrant splicing activity resulted in enhanced cellular stress granule formation—a possible mechanism of clonal outgrowth in myelodysplasia.

Alfred Lee, MD, PhD; George Goshua, MD, MSc; and Alexander B. Pine, MD, PhD, worked with colleagues in Cardiovascular Medicine on a report in Blood Advances that identified a series of biomarkers associated with white blood cell activation and obesity which can predict severe outcomes in COVID-19 patients.

Education

The Yale Cancer Center was selected by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in June 2022 for the ASH Hematology-Focused Fellowship Training Program (HFFTP), an initiative that addresses the need to enlarge the hematology workforce. Yale will receive funding for five years to develop a robust hematology training experience for one fellow annually in order to produce 50 new academic hematologists by 2030.

The first cohort will begin in July 2023. The Yale HFFTP aims to mentor classical hematology-focused fellows who will lead the field in both traditional and innovative scholarly pursuits, including basic and translational science; medical education; health equities research; and the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

New Faculty Members

In July 2022, Goshua and Anna Kress, MD, were appointed as assistant professors of medicine (hematology). Both Goshua and Kress completed the Yale Hematology-Medical Oncology Fellowship Program in June. Goshua will see patients as part of the Smilow Classic Hematology Program and build the first research program in the country focused on decision-analytic modeling and health economics in classic hematology. Kress will care for patients as part of the Smilow Classic Hematology Program in North Haven and Trumbull.

Lourdes Mendez, MD, PhD, and Anish Sharda, MD, MPH, joined the department as assistant professors of medicine (hematology) in August 2022. Mendez will see patients with leukemia and develop a clonal hematopoiesis clinic in New Haven. Sharda’s clinical and research interests are in bleeding, clotting, and platelet disorders. His research in vascular biology is funded by the NIH.

Recognitions

Halene was appointed the Arthur H. and Isabel Bunker Associate Professor of Medicine (Hematology) in December 2021.

In February 2022, Brian R. Smith, MD, professor of laboratory medicine, of biomedical engineering, of medicine (hematology) and of pediatrics was elected to the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

Alfred Lee, MD, PhD, was named full professor in July 2022, and was chosen as the keynote speaker at the White Coat Ceremony in August 2022.

Submitted by Julie Parry on July 10, 2023