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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Acclaimed Hematologist and Bone Marrow Transplant Specialist Andrew M. Yeager, M.D., Joins University of Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, June 9, 2000 — The University of Pittsburgh has recruited Andrew M. Yeager, M.D., as director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program in the division of hematology/oncology. Appointed professor in the departments of medicine and pediatrics in the University’s School of Medicine, Dr. Yeager also will direct the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Biology Program within the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI).

"Dr. Yeager brings a wealth of experience in developing transplant therapies for various disorders. UPCI will benefit enormously from his recognized leadership in translating laboratory findings into the clinical setting," said Ronald B. Herberman, director, UPCI, and associate vice chancellor for research, Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Yeager comes to UPCI from the Emory University School of Medicine, where he was director of its Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Biology and Transplantation Program and director of the division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation. He was professor of medicine and pediatrics and a professor in Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute. While there, he conducted clinical and laboratory research studies aimed at improving transplantation for patients with leukemia and lymphoma. Recently, he developed a pioneering unrelated cord blood cell transplant that effectively cured life-threatening sickle cell disease in a young patient. This work was featured in TIME magazine.

"I’m pleased to join a program committed to developing and improving stem cell transplantation therapies for adults and children. UPCI has an excellent reputation regionally and is on the fast track to becoming a national leader in this field," Dr. Yeager stated. "UPCI will offer patients a seamless continuum of care while ensuring them every opportunity to benefit from the latest advances by participating in clinical trials. In conjunction with this mission, we will be expanding our existing laboratory research efforts."

Other important initiatives Dr. Yeager envisions include comprehensive multidisciplinary clinics to treat graft-versus-host disease, a serious and potentially life-threatening complication of stem cell transplantation, and to provide long-term follow-up care of stem cell transplant patients. The Stem Cell Transplantation Program also will offer educational programs for referring physicians, in addition to developing a stem cell transplant fellowship program for physicians in training.

Stem cell transplantation is a procedure involving the replacement of malfunctioning or cancerous cells with precursors of normal, healthy cells. These precursors, or stem cells, are continually produced by the bone marrow and released into the blood, where they can be collected. Peripheral blood stem cell transplantation has largely replaced bone marrow transplantation for conditions such as leukemia and lymphoma because larger doses of stem cells can be collected and transplanted. In recent years, clinical scientists have explored this procedure to treat selected solid tumors, such as breast cancer, and inherited genetic disorders such as sickle cell disease. (For more information, see the Bone Marrow/Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation Backgrounder and Stem Cell Transplantation Initiatives)

Dr. Yeager received his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he served as chief resident in the department of pediatrics before attaining the position of associate professor of medicine. He joined the Emory University School of Medicine in 1993.

Dr. Yeager is an author or co-author of more than 150 publications in the medical literature. He is a member of the American Society of Hematology, the American Federation for Clinical Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research. He is on the editorial boards of several medical journals and has been noted in Best Doctors in America.

Ranked 12th in National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding and the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in western Pennsylvania, UPCI is widely recognized as a leader in translating laboratory findings into applications of potential clinical importance and for its commitment to developing new and effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

For more information about UPCI, please access or call the UPCI’s Cancer Information and Referral Service toll-free at 1-800-247-4724.

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