Hematologist-oncologist to lead bone marrow transplantation program for treating blood-borne cancers

Hematologist-oncologist Ahmad Samer Al-Homsi MD, MBA, will lead a new bone marrow transplantation program at NYU Langone's Perlmutter Cancer Center for treating blood-borne cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, and potentially utilize transplantation as an adjunct to immunotherapy for solid tumors. He also will investigate ways to reduce graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), in which immune cells in donated blood and marrow attack the tissues of a recipient.

In addition, Al-Homsi will facilitate NYU Langone's collaboration with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to institute haploidentical transplantation at PCC, in which less perfectly matched individuals can serve as donors. The advent of haplo-transplantation at Perlmutter Cancer Center will vastly expand the potential donor pool for patients who require a transplant.

Al-Homsi, who officially joins NYU Langone on June 1, 2017, most recently co-founded the blood and bone marrow transplantation program at Spectrum Health, a major multi-site health system in West Michigan. Prior to joining Spectrum, he was chief of the Division of Hematologic Malignancies & Blood and Marrow Transplantation and director of the stem cell laboratory at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, RI, an academic affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. Al-Homsi also directed the blood and marrow transplantation program and held several clinical and academic posts at the University of Massachusetts and its affiliated medical center.

Al-Homsi's research is focused on preventing GvHD, a potentially life-threatening complication of bone marrow transplantation. He has led clinical trials examining innovative combinations of medications to prevent GvHD , including cyclophosphamide and proteasome inhibitors. Such combinations can omit the need for extended and burdensome prophylactic traditional agents and are applicable to patients with limited kidney function who are often denied blood and marrow transplantation.

At Perlmutter Cancer Center, Al-Homsi will work closely with a strong hematology-oncology team that has made important advances in the study and treatment of blood-borne cancers. Patients requiring bone marrow transplantation undergo their treatment at the medical center's Rita J. and Stanley H. Bone Stem Cell/Bone Marrow Transplant Center.

His appointment also complements important programmatic and research efforts underway at NYU Langone's Transplant Institute.

"Our understanding of hematologic malignancies has advanced greatly over the past decade, to the point that many cases are curable," says Benjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, director of Perlmutter Cancer Center. "Bone marrow transplantation plays a critical role in these advances -- but it doesn't come without risk. Dr. Al-Homsi's research holds tremendous promise to curtail negative interactions between host and transplanted cells and make this form of treatment safer and more effective."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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