Two St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital leaders will be honored at the annual meeting of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO). The event is scheduled for May 4-7 in Pittsburgh.
Ellis Neufeld, M.D., Ph.D., St. Jude executive vice president, clinical director and physician-in-chief, was selected to receive the 2022 George R. Buchanan Lectureship Award. The annual award recognizes a national or international expert in pediatric hematology or oncology who is also an accomplished educator, committed mentor and effective speaker.
Ching-Hon Pui, M.D., chair of the St. Jude Department of Oncology, will receive the 2022 Distinguished Career Award. The annual award honors a senior physician whose work has had a major impact on the field.
ASPHO is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to promoting the optimal care of children, adolescents and young adults with blood disorders and cancer. The organization focuses on advancing research, education, treatment and professional practice.
“Progress against pediatric blood disorders, including hematologic malignancies, requires not only collaboration between researchers in the lab and the clinic, but also effective mentoring between senior and early career investigators,” Neufeld said. “Passing down knowledge and learning from each other helps us work faster and smarter toward better therapies.”
Neufeld has formally mentored more than 40 individuals in laboratory, clinical and research settings. Pui also highlighted the importance of teamwork in his career.
“I would like to share this award with my team at St. Jude and collaborators worldwide, along with the children and families I have been lucky to care for,” Pui said. “Research does not happen based on one person’s efforts alone, and it has been an honor to work alongside such wonderful collaborators and our inspiring patients.”
Neufeld: Longstanding leadership
Neufeld is an experienced clinical and translational investigator who is an internationally respected leader in pediatric hematology. In the past decade, he has become increasingly involved in observational longitudinal studies of individuals with blood diseases. He holds the John and Lorine Thrasher Chair in Pediatric Medicine at St. Jude.
He joined St. Jude in his current role in 2017 after more than 25 years at Harvard Medical School, including as associate chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
Neufeld has received many honors. He is a two-time recipient of the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation National President’s Award and the 2021 American Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network Lusher/Shapiro Leadership Award.
Pui: Clinical trials advance leukemia care
Pui joined St. Jude in 1977 as a resident. At that time, the cure rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common pediatric cancer, was 40%. Pui has played a central role in developing clinical trials that helped increase the pediatric ALL survival rate to 94% at St. Jude today.
Many of Pui’s research findings have helped change global clinical practice. The list includes showing that cranial irradiation, once part of standard treatment for childhood ALL, can be omitted altogether. The change reduced therapy-related side effects and improved survivors’ quality of life. He has been one of the most highly cited investigators in clinical medicine for the past two decades.
Pui received many awards including American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor and FM Kirby Clinical Research Professorship, fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Hematology’s Henry Stratton Award, and American Association for Cancer Research’s Joseph H. Burchenal Clinical Research Award and Team Science Award.