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News from UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Division of Hematology/Oncology

December 18, 2019

Division Fellows Present at ASH

Two fellows from UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology presented abstracts at the 2019 American Society of Hematology annual conference held December 7-10, 2019 in Orlando Florida. 

Division fellow Meghan McCormick, MD, will present on the topic of: Levofloxacin Prophylaxis Is Effective and Cost-Effective in Pediatric Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Fellow Archana Ramgopal, DO, will also present at the conference. Her abstract will discuss: Morbidity, Mortality, and Healthcare Utilization in a National Cohort of Pediatric Patients with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis Who Received Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant.

New Paper Examines Solid Organ Transplant After Childhood Cancer Treatment

A new study1 published in October in The Lancet Oncology from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study sheds light on the incidence and risk factors surrounding the need for solid organ transplantation after receipt of treatment for a childhood cancer. UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology was one of the participating sites in the multicenter study. 

Main findings of the study showed that while the overall incidence of solid organ transplant is low in pediatric cancer survivors, insults to various solid organs through various treatment modalities does increase the risk of long-term damage that could lead to end-organ failure and the need for transplant. Survival rates of pediatric cancer survivors who underwent solid organ transplant led the study group to conclude that transplantation should be considered for those individuals who are five years or more post-treatment and are suffering from end-organ failure.

Jean M. Tersak, MD, professor of medicine and principal investigator of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) trials conducted at UPMC Children’s served as the site investigator for the study and is also a co-author on the paper.

Dietz AC, Seidel K, Leisenring WM, Mulrooney DA, Tersak JM, Glick RD, Burnweit CA, Green DM, Diller LR, Smith SA, Howell RM, Stovall M, Armstrong GT, Oeffinger KC, Robison LL, Termuhlen AM. Solid Organ Transplantation After Treatment for Childhood Cancer: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Lancet Oncol. 2019 Oct; 20(10): 1420-1431. Epub 2019 Aug 27.

Study Examines Behavioral Late Effects in Pediatric Cancer Survivors

Late effects of cancer treatment continue to be of significant concern to all cancer survivors and their caregivers, particularly young adolescent survivors. Late effects can arise in a host of organs and systems and can impact quality-of-life, morbidity, and mortality years after the successful treatment of a cancer.

New research co-authored by Robert Noll, PhD, a pediatric psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who works extensively with pediatric cancer patients and their families, investigated the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depression many years after cancer treatment in adolescents (18 years of age).

The study, published in the journal Psycho-Oncology, followed children who received care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to determine if survivors exhibit more symptoms of anxiety and depression, and more evidence of psychiatric disease, comparing pediatric cancer survivors to peers from their schools when they were first diagnosed and had no severe chronic illness.

The main findings of the paper suggest that these young adult cancer survivors do not experience more symptoms of depression or anxiety based on reports from the survivors and their caregivers. Learn more about the study through the following reference: D’Souza AM, Devine KA, Reiter-Purtil J, Gerhardt CA, Vannatta K, Noll RB. Internalizing Symptoms in AYA Survivors of Childhood Cancer and Matched Comparisons. Psycho-Oncology. 2019 Jul 20. E pub ahead of print.

More About Dr. Noll

Dr. Noll is a pediatric psychologist in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He has a rich background in research, clinical care, and teaching. After graduating from Ohio University with a BBA, Dr. Noll spent five years as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy where he flew more than 170 combat missions in Vietnam and received two Distinguished Flying Crosses, four Individual Air Medals, and four Navy Commendation Medals. After discharge from the U.S. Navy, Dr. Noll spent a year at the University of California at Berkeley where he received a psychology major. He then completed his graduate studies at Michigan State University, where he earned a doctorate in clinical child psychology with a developmental psychology minor.

Dr. Noll’s research has focused on gaining a better understanding of the impact of medical challenges for children, their parents, and siblings. While Dr. Noll’s work has included studies examining the functioning of children with sickle cell, arthritis, hemophilia, migraines, fibromyalgia, and neurofibromatosis, children with cancer and their families have been the center point of his research and teaching career. Dr. Noll has published 150+ peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals, including more than 50 that focus on pediatric cancers. Along with this academic focus, Dr. Noll has been extremely involved in the mentoring of junior faculty, fellows, and graduate students. Dr. Noll has been the primary or co-primary mentor for six career development awards, and four of his previous fellows currently have National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

Currently, Dr. Noll is the past-chair of the Behavioral Science Committee within the Children’s Oncology Group and is responsible for the mentoring and development of a number of scholars in the United States. He also is involved with four ongoing NIH-funded studies related to children with cancer.