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Montefiore in the News

Major Gift from Sara and Joshua Ross Funds Purchase of New Technology to Improve Outcomes for Pediatric Cancer Patients 

NEW YORK (September 10, 2015) – The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) has officially named the Geraldine Richtand Pediatric Marrow & Blood Cell Transplantation Program, thanks to a major gift from Dr. Sara and Mr. Joshua Ross of Newton, Massachusetts.  

The Pediatric Marrow & Blood Cell Transplantation Program at CHAM came under new leadership in 2014 when Kris Mahadeo, M.D., was recruited to become the director. Since that time, the program has achieved additional accreditations and greatly expanded capabilities. The program now offers traditional and alternative donor options for any child who may benefit from transplantation. These include children with cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, neuroblastoma and sarcoma, as well as children with genetic diseases such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, immune deficiencies and metabolic disorders such as Hurler’s diseases and adrenoleukodystrophy. Marrow and blood cell transplantation places healthy cells from a donor into the patient, allowing them to generate new healthy cells and eradicate the underlying disease. 

“We are proud to name The Geraldine Richtand Pediatric Marrow & Blood Cell Transplantation Program in honor of Josh’s grandmother, who was one of the most generous and loving people we have known, and who lived with a chronic form of lymphoma herself. Although we left New York a year ago we continue to feel passionate about the strong social mission at Montefiore and hope to contribute to the well-being of children and families who are impacted by these life-threatening diseases,” said Sara Ross, M.D. 

Dr. Ross was an attending in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine from 2007-2014 and the pediatric residency training director from 2011-2014.This gift from Dr. and Mr. Ross supports the purchase of a specialized system that enables patients’ relatives who previously were not considered a match to be able to donate their cells with less concern for rejection thus increasing the number of patients who can receive this life-saving therapy. The Ross donation also allows new patient rooms to be built in the Hematology Oncology unit at CHAM to meet the growing demand of patients requiring marrow and blood cell transplantation.  

Despite the availability of more than 14 million marrow and blood cell donors registered worldwide, only 70 percent of patients describing themselves as white have a fully matched unrelated donor available; for individuals identifying themselves as Asians, this probability is 20 percent and for those identifying themselves as black, it is 17 percent.   

“We are extremely grateful to the Ross family for their generous donation, which provides us, through the purchase of a recently developed device, a transplantation option for patients who previously did not have this as a choice. Even half-matched relatives can now serve as donors,” said Kris M. Mahadeo, M.D., director, The Geraldine Richtand Pediatric Marrow & Blood Cell Transplantation Program and assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics (Hematology & Oncology), Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “The Ross family’s support will also create the additional physical space that will be needed to take care of the increasing numbers of patients who can benefit from these curative therapies and ensure children can undergo their potentially life-saving therapy, safely, right here in the Bronx.” 

The Geraldine Richtand Pediatric Marrow & Blood Cell Transplantation Program is part of The Jerome L. Greene Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Marrow & Blood Cell Transplantation at CHAM. Led by Richard G. Gorlick, M.D., vice chairman, Department of Pediatrics; division chief, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, CHAM; and, Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the multidisciplinary team of clinical-researchers, nurses, social workers and child life specialists care for 150 newly-diagnosed children each year, as well as patients who return frequently for follow-up care.  

In addition to providing clinical care for children with diseases such as, brain tumors, leukemia, lymphoma, sarcoma and sickle cell disease, the experts in the Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Marrow & Blood Cell Transplantation conduct research in these areas and there are currently over 80 active research protocols in progress. For more information about the Division, visit http://www.cham.org/specialties-and-programs/hematology-oncology-and-marrow-and-blood-cell-transplantation-cancer-sickle-cell-disease-bleeding-disorders/research