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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
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Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation Research

The research mission of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation is to understand the causes of cancer and non-malignant blood disorders and help develop new approaches for treatment and cures. The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases is a hub of research in the field, leading efforts ranging from molecular genetic studies of certain childhood cancers to the pioneering use of stem cell transplantation in treating and curing sickle cell disease, to personalized tumor vaccines for the treatment of recurrent malignant brain tumors, to the study of a multidrug-resistant gene in cancerous brain tumors. Our program holds leadership positions in nationally funded consortia such as the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, the Children’s Oncology Group, and the Sickle Cell Disease Implementation Consortium. Our faculty also hold leadership positions in professional organizations such as the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology and the American Society of Hematology.

Search our listing of current clinical trials and review our recent publications for more information.

Scientific Goals

  • To investigate the relationship between embryonic development and pediatric oncogenesis
  • To examine the mechanisms by which the microenvironment influences the growth and biology of pediatric cancers
  • To analyze the relationship between pediatric cancer genomics, epigenomics and tumor biology
  • To use precision medicine, “omic” information in creating individualized treatments
  • To develop novel therapies that can be utilized in cooperative group and single institutional trials that will enhance survival rates of pediatric patients
  • To evaluate tests to detect minimal residual disease and the relationship to survival
  • To investigate the mechanisms and novel therapies for blood clots and inherited bleeding disorders
  • To investigate the use of gene therapy to cure hematologic disorders such as hemophilia, thalassemia and sickle cell anemia

Research within National Networks

Membership in the Children's Oncology Group, the COG Developmental Therapeutics Consortium, Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Consortium, Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia & Lymphoma, the National Pediatric Aplastic Anemia Consortium and the ITP Consortium of North America, to mention a few, allows Lurie Children's to offer the best treatments for our patients and families. Being part of NCI-sponsored groups assures cutting-edge, state-of-the-art treatment approaches and protocols that are rigorously monitored, scientifically sound and reviewed at many levels, including the NCI. As a member of these consortia, Lurie Children's has access to new agents that are unavailable elsewhere because they are experimental. Because of the hospital's involvement with COG, the members of the division are aware of every development in cancer research, which means that patients will be among the first to undergo new treatments as they become available.

Research Based Locally

Research in the division centers on the clinical and basic research activities of Lurie Children's, the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute and others in the laboratories of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. The program consists of high-quality clinical investigators and unifying laboratory studies centered on the themes of embryonic development, the tumor microenvironment, genomics, epigenomics and pediatric oncogenesis, minimal residual disease, the use of mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of disease, mechanisms of thrombosis and bleeding, novel therapies to change the natural history of thalassemia, sickle cell anemia and other benign hematologic disorders. 

Scientists are also investigating exercise as medicine, quality-of-life and the use of technology to increase pediatric and adolescent compliance with medications and their treatment regimens. Both basic and translational studies are in progress. In addition, the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program has significant clinical trials activity with innovative investigator-initiated studies at both the institutional and cooperative group level. The program has strong interactions with other basic, clinical and cancer prevention and control programs.

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