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Hematology / Oncology

Children and Adolescent Cancer and Blood Diseases Center
The Children and Adolescent Cancer and Blood Diseases Center at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, is an internationally recognized, multidisciplinary treatment center and laboratory that provides comprehensive, quality care while leading breakthrough research in cancer and blood diseases.

Our Mission

The Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation care and research teams at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital provide innovative therapies for childhood cancer and blood disorders, and develop new treatments for preventing these diseases. 

Our dedicated mission includes:

• Providing state-of-the-art and personalized, quality care for pediatric patients
• Developing new preventive, diagnostic, innovative, and therapeutic strategies
• Conducting scholarly clinical, translational, and basic science research
• Implementing translational therapy that incorporates cellular, gene, and regenerative therapeutics, targeted therapy, and personalized curative strategies
• Promoting psychosocial well-being and long-term survivorship
• Educating and mentoring future generations of bright and caring health care professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents with cancer,
  blood and genetic illnesses.

Personalized Care You Can Trust

Twenty-first century treatment for our youngest patients means a personalized, targeted approach that’s both focused and gentle—one that reduces toxicity and uses groundbreaking methods to treat cancerous tissues and blood diseases. Under the direction of Mitchell Cairo, MD, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s Chief of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation, our team draws upon expertise in pediatric hemotology, oncology, stem cell transplantation, surgery, pathology, radiation oncology, and immunology to adapt this approach to each child. 

We specialize in diagnosing, treating, and researching solid tumors, brain tumors, childhood leukemias, bone marrow failure, sickle cell disease, and other hematological illnesses. Click here for a full list of our clinical and therapeutic programs.

Cutting-Edge Research

Each day, we gain expertise, build resources, and achieve advancements in the treatment of cancer and blood disease. From bone marrow transplantation to stem cell therapy, we are unlocking treatments and blazing trails to pinpoint the cause, course of treatment, and cure. 

Our investigations are basic, translational, and clinical—meaning that breakthroughs in the laboratory translate directly into patient care. By taking the lead in several trials investigating targeted antibodies, cellular therapy, and stem cell transplants, the Center has immediate access to pioneering research that informs therapeutic strategies and enhances quality of care.

Putting Our Patients First

We know, as you do, that each child is unique, and each one deserves the science-based medicine and the holistic support to sustain him or her—in body, mind, and spirit—through the challenges of sickness. From the bedside to behind the scenes, our approaches center on our patients, and from the minute you arrive at the hospital, we’re in this together. 

Active family involvement creates the environment that allows us to provide advanced care, especially through the physical and emotional rigors of prolonged illness. Children in treatment for cancer or blood disorders at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital may stay here for a while, but they will never feel “hospitalized.” Instead, they will engage will their families, peers, care providers, and others on their journey toward healing.

We know, as you do, that each child is unique, and each one deserves the science-based medicine and the holistic support to sustain him or her—in body, mind, and spirit—through the challenges of sickness. From the bedside to behind the scenes, our approaches center on our patients, and from the minute you arrive at the hospital, we’re in this together. 

Active family involvement creates the environment that allows us to provide advanced care, especially through the physical and emotional rigors of prolonged illness. Children in treatment for cancer or blood disorders at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital may stay here for a while, but they will never feel “hospitalized.” Instead, they will engage will their families, peers, care providers, and others on their journey toward healing.

Malignant Diseases

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: 
A condition in which the bone marrow (the spongy tissue within the bones) produces an excess of immature white blood cells, or lymphocytes—which crowd out healthy, disease-fighting cells and run a high risk of becoming cancerous. Signs include fever, bruising, lumps, fatigue, and joint pain. 

Acute Myeloid Leukemia: A condition in which the bone marrow creates an excessive number of abnormal blood cells. Signs includes fever, fatigue, and easy bruising or bleeding. 

Chronic Myeloid (Myelogenous) Leukemia/Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia: Conditions in which the bone marrow makes too many abnormal white blood cells, which gradually spill over into the blood and body. Signs include fever, night sweats and tiredness. 

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (Burkitt, Large Cell Lymphoblastic, Anaplastic): This condition is marked by malignant cancer cells formed in the lymph system, part of the body’s defense against illness and infection. Signs in children include breathing problems and swollen lymph nodes, the storage and filter for white blood cells. 

Hodgkin Lymphoma: In this highly treatable condition, a normal white cell (lymphocyte) changes to a malignant lymphoma cell, which gather into growths on the lymph nodes. Signs include swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats and weight loss. 

Neuroblastoma: This type of cancer forms in the nerve tissue and spreads quickly throughout the body. Symptoms include bone pain, a lump in the abdomen, or a bluish lump under the skin. 

Brain Tumors: Growths of abnormal cells in, or close to, the brain. Our cross-disciplinary teams and cutting-edge research focuses on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these tumors. 

Wilms’ Tumor: Very rare yet highly treatable with our personalized therapies, this kidney cancer largely affects children five years old and younger. 

Sarcomas: These cancers grow in connective tissue such as bones, muscles, tendons and blood vessels. Depending on the location of the growth, signs may include a painless lump, pain in the bone, swelling in one limb, or even a limp. Sometimes parents and children misinterpret a sarcoma as a sports injury, letting it linger; our solid tumor team, comprising orthopedic surgeons and interventional radiologists, will quickly diagnose and treat the condition.

Non-Malignant Diseases

Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes: While varied, these conditions all involve damage to marrow function or damage to the stem cells produced within. 

Hemoglobinopathies:
 This genetic condition involves an abnormal structure within the hemoglobin molecule of red blood cells, compromising function and causing conditions such as anemia. In Sickle Cell Disease, the red blood cells appear C-shaped instead of round, dying off early to create a constant shortage. They also entangle with blood vessels to increase the risk of infection and even stroke. 

Immunodeficiencies: Conditions that compromise the immune system’s role in fighting infectious diseases, leaving a child more vulnerable to infection or cancer. Our program comprises diagnosis, prevention, treatment and long-term follow-up. Metabolic Disease: The category for conditions in which a child’s body produces a single enzyme incorrectly, or not at all—interfering with metabolism function and often creating build-ups of toxic substances in the blood and body. 

Autoimmune Disease:
 An excess of “self-reactive” cells arising from an abnormal or immune response to one’s own body—leading to damaged tissue and altered organ growth or function.

As Chief of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Dr. Mitchell Cairo leads a team of researchers to develop and investigate novel strategies of targeted therapies and cellular strategies, including gene therapy and stem cell regenerative therapy, to activate the body’s defense system and to replace damaged cells with thriving ones. Cellular therapy for childhood cancer and blood disorders has become one of the most promising areas of medical research. The promise of unlocking treatments and cures to rare disorders by harnessing the power of the patient’s own body renews the efforts of Dr. Cairo’s team to lead advances that save lives while minimizing unwanted side effects.

Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Laboratory

By aligning vast clinical experience with unmatched scientific expertise, the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Laboratory centers on six areas of groundbreaking research:

• Cancer genetics and treatment of childhood adolescent hematological malignancies
• Genetic re-engineering of immune cells to enhance cellular cancer immunotherapy
• Tumor immunology and target identification for humoral (body-fluid) immunotherapy
• Stem cell biology, cancer stem cells and regenerative therapy
• Targeted therapy for childhood, adolescent and young adult tumors
• Translational (bench to bedside) therapeutic consortiums for childhood and adolescent cancer therapy 

In addition, our laboratory has developed several national translational research consortiums focusing on Stem Cell Transplantation for high-risk patients with Acute Leukemia, Lymphoma cell therapy, Pediatric Sarcoma cell therapy, Familial Stem Cell Transplantation for sickle cell disease, and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma translational research and treatment. Due to our “bench to bedside and back” research, children travel from across the country, and the world, to receive treatment at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

Cellular and Tissue Engineering Laboratory

The Cellular and Tissue Engineering Laboratory (CTEL) within the Children and Adolescent Cancer and Blood Disease Center at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital consists of a 8,000 square foot “current good manufacturing practice” (cGMP) facility. But this manufacturing “plant” doesn’t turn out cars, pens, candies, clips or anything that can be seen with the naked eye. Instead, it creates the defining feature of medicine’s new frontier: human cells. 

The state-of the-art equipment in the CTEL is designed to facilitate cellular therapy (CT) under investigational new drug applications (IND), in support of cellular therapy that will treat a variety of disorders and diseases. All pediatric and adult blood and marrow transplantation programs, and other regenerative cellular therapy programs at Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, rely on cell manufacture and processing in the CTEL. 

With a focus on oncology, hematology, neurology, genetics and cardiovascular therapies, the CTEL supports a range of translational programs that harness stem cell, cellular, tissue and gene therapies. The research team has FDA approval for several clinical protocols to treat such disorders as sickle cell disease, in which red blood cells break down into a “sickle” shape. Therapeutic action in this case uses the patient’s mother or father as a donor, with peripheral blood as a stem cell source, to replace the damaged sickle cells with healthy red blood cells.

Our Family-Centered Care Philosophy

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is the combined vision of hundreds of parents, medical professionals and community leaders who shared a fervent desire to create a family-centered place of care where parents are not visitors, but partners; and where the vibrant and playful surroundings become an integral part of the healing process. 

As the leading treatment center for the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital provides unsurpassed medical expertise, family-centered compassionate care, and cutting-edge treatments delivered by internationally renowned teams of pediatric specialists and allied health practitioners. Multidisciplinary excellence builds a synergy among the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of each patient – creating a personalized approach that’s unique to each child, within an atmosphere that fosters hope and healing by removing the “hospital” from “hospitalization.” 

Our unmatched level of care is delivered in an equally state-of-the-art building, designed specifically from the point of view of children and their families. 

For additional information about our physicians, to obtain a physician referral, or to refer a patient, please call 914.493.7997.
Cairo, Mitchell
Cairo, Mitchell
Director - Children and Adolescent Cancer and Blood Diseases Center,‌ Chief - Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation‌
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