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Donald Small To Lead Pediatric Oncology Division - 07/09/2009

Donald Small To Lead Pediatric Oncology Division

Release Date: July 9, 2009

Donald Small, M.D., Ph.D. - Pediatric Oncologist - Leukemia

Donald Small at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center leads the pediatric oncology division and studies new treatments for childhood cancer. He discusses his research on a leukemia gene discovery.

Donald Small, M.D., Ph.D., a nationally recognized leader in the research and treatment of childhood blood cancers, has been selected to head the Pediatric Oncology Division of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. After having spent 32 years at Johns Hopkins, with the last 19 as a member of the faculty, Small has been serving as Acting Director of the Division since September 2006.

Small says he will focus on expanding the childhood cancer program, both its clinical trials and research efforts, building on the expertise of division investigators who already lead many of the national studies for children with cancer.

"Don embodies the philosophy and mission of Johns Hopkins in everything he does," says, William G. Nelson, M.D., Ph. D., director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. "He's a dedicated physician, teacher and mentor, and among the nation's best researchers in his field."

George Dover, M.D., Director of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center said, “Don has the talent and energy to ensure our pediatric oncology program moves forward as a premier center of excellence and innovation for discovery and treatment.”
 
A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also earned his Ph.D., Small this year received the Frank A. Oski Award from the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, which honors pediatric hematologist/oncologists who have made significant research contributions to the field.
Small and his team were the first to clone the human FLT3 receptor gene, the most frequently mutated gene in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), one of the most common blood cancers in adults and children. He and his team then identified small molecules capable of inhibiting the receptor and killing the cancer cells while leaving normal blood cells unharmed. The work led to the design of clinical trials using one of these drugs, first as a monotherapy, and later in combination with chemotherapy for adults with AML. Most recently, the drug has entered clinical trials through the Children’s Oncology Group for children with FLT3 mutant AML and infants with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Antibodies they helped to develop against FLT3 are also now entering clinical trials for leukemia.
He completed his internship and residency training in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins as well as a clinical fellowship in Pediatric Oncology.

He has three grown children and resides in Baltimore with his wife Lauren.

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins is one of 41 centers in the United States to hold a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. As such, it ranks among the top centers in the nation conducting basic and clinical cancer research, providing advanced patient care and serving the community through outreach and education programs.

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