Explore UAB

button committedtoacureThe Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders boasts a U.S. Government-recognized Comprehensive Hemophilia Treatment Center offering diagnostic, therapeutic and educational services to all children with bleeding and clotting disorders.

And thanks to excellent cooperation between surgical and hematology personnel, 98 percent of children with bleeding disorders who undergo surgery at Children’s of Alabama experience no bleeding complications.

Research focuses include sickle cell disease, bleeding disorders and a rare group of disorders known as Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. Through UAB’s membership in the Histiocyte Society, our staff has access to the latest international treatments for this difficult group of disorders.

Our physician scientists have made great progress toward improved therapies, fewer complications and, in some cases, a cure for serious blood disorders. Their ongoing commitment is nothing short of finding a total cure.

  • Pediatric Oncology

    Pediatric Oncology specialists at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders (a program of The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Children’s of Alabama) diagnose and treat children and young adults with leukemia, lymphoma, and solid tumors of the muscle, bone, kidney, liver, eye and brain, as well as rare childhood cancers. About 150 new cases are diagnosed and treated each year, and about 300 patients are undergoing chemotherapy at any given time. More than 100 physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, and psychosocial support specialists dedicate their careers to childhood cancer care.

    The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders offers state-of-the-art, personalized clinical care to patients and is one of a select group of certified centers to provide the newest therapies available. The Center’s physicians have leadership roles in the Children’s Oncology Group, which is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research. There is an accredited bone marrow transplant program for patients who require this specialized treatment in their cancer care.

    Patients have access to a specialized program in neuro-oncology and to physicians with expertise in the treatment of leukemia/lymphoma and solid tumors. These resources ensure that our center provides the most proven and effective cancer therapies to all patients in Alabama and throughout the Southeast.

  • Pediatric Hematology

    Pediatric Hematology specialists at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, a program of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Children’s of Alabama, diagnose and treat bleeding disorders and non-cancer blood diseases such as hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and other anemias. The nationally recognized, federally funded Comprehensive Hemophilia Treatment Center provides care for more than 200 patients with bleeding disorders, including hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. Patients attending our clinics receive multi-specialty care, allowing access to several vital health care providers during a single visit. Research at UAB in bleeding disorders is helping patients live their lives without the worries of a life threatening bleed.

    Our Center provides care for more than 1,000 infants, children and adolescent patients with sickle cell disease throughout the state of Alabama. Educating patients and parents about sickle cell disease is vital to our philosophy of care. Our staff has created nationally recognized educational videos for parents starting at their first visit and our educational initiatives continue to adolescents as we prepare them for transition to adult care providers. UAB is a nationally recognized academic center conducting research to help prevent complications of disease and to find a cure. This research has led to reductions in life limiting strokes during childhood and painful events that previously limited patient’s lives.

    Patients with rare blood disorders are also cared for at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. With access to life-saving bone marrow transplantation, the Center offers patients the unique opportunity to be cured of their disease at an early age.

  • Neuro-Oncology Research

    Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, a dedicated program for children with tumors of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), is a sub-specialty of Pediatric Oncology. This nationally recognized program combines the expertise of neuro-oncology, neurosurgery, hematology-oncology, neuro-radiology, neurology, neuropathology and stem cell transplant.

    The Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders is one of the largest programs in the United States, with 50 to 70 children newly diagnosed each year, and more than 1,000 patient visits annually at the Neuro-Oncology Clinic. Treatment on clinical trials is offered to all eligible patients, providing access to the most current and novel therapies available. Ongoing translational research through the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Neuro-Oncology Program is developing innovative, targeted therapies like oncolytic virotherapy which are designed to improve outcomes and reduce side-effects in children with malignant brain tumors.

    A comprehensive, multi-disciplinary support program includes social services, rehabilitation medicine, neuropsychology, and school liaisons to provide families with vital resources during and after treatment. Our mission is to successfully treat the children we care for and see them return to happy and productive lives.

  • Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program

    The Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at Children’s of Alabama – the state’s only dedicated pediatric bone marrow transplant facility – specializes in therapies to treat leukemia and other forms of cancer, rare genetic conditions, immune deficiencies, bone marrow failure syndromes and sickle cell disease. Single and tandem autologous transplants are performed for certain malignant conditions, including brain tumors. Allogeneic transplants using marrow, peripheral blood stem cells or cord blood from related or unrelated donors are performed for malignant and non-malignant disorders.

    Three full-time pediatric physicians are part of a highly experienced multidisciplinary team that transplants 20-30 children each year, having performed more than 330 transplantations in the program’s 13-year history. Support services include an on-site pharmacy, child life services, an occupational/physical therapy team, neuropsychology services, social work support, nutritionists, pastoral care and a certified teacher. The transplant unit consists of eight private inpatient and four outpatient rooms and is HEPA-filtered and self-contained, helping to maintain family integrity.

    In conjunction with the Children’s Oncology Group and the Pediatric Blood Marrow Transplant Consortium, transplant protocols have been developed to provide optimal treatments for children and adolescents with different types of cancer, immune deficiencies, or other blood disorders. The facility is National Marrow Donor Program® certified, accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, and participates in the NACHRI Quality Transformation Network and the CLABSI collaborative.

    Disease states transplanted at the Blood and Marrow Program include:

    • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
    • Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
    • Aplastic Anemia
    • Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes
      (including Fanconi Anemia)
    • Brain Tumors
    • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
    • Congenital Immune Deficiencies
    • Juvenile Myelomyonocytic Leukemia
    • Lymphoma
    • Metabolic Storage Disorders
    • Neuroblastoma
    • Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia
    • Soft Tissue Sarcomas
  • Developmental Therapeutics Program

    The mission of the Developmental Therapeutics Program, at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, is to identify and develop new therapies for children and young adults with cancer. Our ultimate goal is to improve the cure rate of pediatric cancers while also decreasing immediate and long-term side effects experienced by children undergoing treatment. Patients referred to the Developmental Therapeutics Program typically have recurrent or refractory malignancies that have failed standard therapies. Other patients may be diagnosed with rare tumors for which no effective therapies have been established.

    As one of only 21 premier pediatric oncology programs in the country that were selected through a peer review by the Children’s Oncology Group Phase 1 and Pilot Consortium, we are able to provide patients access to innovative therapies not widely available. The Developmental Therapeutics Program is also a member of the Neurofibromatosis Consortium, the Head Start Consortium, and Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration (SARC). Additionally, we work with the pharmaceutical industry and with the diverse scientific community at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Studies currently open and accruing patients are listed below.

    Ongoing collaborations include bench to bedside clinical trials of promising new agents or combinations of agents to treat pediatric cancers including brain tumors, neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and leukemia. By combining the innovation and expertise of the UAB Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Children’s of Alabama, and researchers from UAB and around the world, the Developmental Therapeutics Program offers cutting-edge therapies and state-of-the-art care while helping to advance the treatment of pediatric cancers for generations to come.

    For more information, contact: Developmental Therapeutics Research Nurse Manager Bridget Tate, RN MSN at 205-638-2984 or btate@peds.uab.edu

  • Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program

    Taking on Life After Cancer (TLC)

    As a result of continued improvements in treating pediatric cancer, approximately 80% of children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer today will become long-term survivors. These survivors are at risk for late effects, or complications, related to their cancer diagnosis and/or treatment, and require lifelong monitoring. Potential late effects include impaired growth, heart and lung problems, secondary cancers, learning disabilities, and vision or hearing problems.

    The Taking on Life after Cancer (TLC) Clinic, at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, is the only childhood cancer survivorship clinic in Alabama designed specifically to help pediatric cancer survivors optimize their health and quality of life. The clinic strives to provide appropriate risk-based care for survivors and works to increase awareness among healthcare providers of the unique needs of childhood cancer survivors.

    The TLC clinic provides detailed information for cancer survivors and their families regarding the patient’s treatment and risks for late effects, psychosocial evaluation and support, risk-based screening for late effects, and referrals to other specialists, as needed. The program is devoted to participating in research and outreach initiatives to better understand and meet the needs of pediatric cancer survivors.

    Hope and Cope Psychosocial Program

    With the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer or blood disorders come many emotional and practical challenges for the entire family. The Hope and Cope Program, at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, provides support and services from diagnosis onwards using a family-centered approach, where the family and healthcare providers are partners working together to best meet the needs of the patient.

    Our interdisciplinary team of skilled and compassionate specialists, including social workers, child life specialists, pediatric psychologists, pediatric neuropsychologists, chaplains, hospital-based teachers, school liaisons, art, music, and rhythm therapists provide emotional, psychological, and spiritual support, and also assist with concrete needs. Our goal is to help families maximize their strength at all stages of their child’s treatment journey.

    To ease the stress and distress from frequent hospitalizations or lengthy outpatient visits, the Hope and Cope Program offers the following emotional health and well-being activities:

    • Art/Music/Drumming & Rhythm Circle
    • Beads of Courage
    • Gardening on the Terrace
    • Group School or Bedside Instruction
    • STAR (School/Social Transition & Reentry)
    • Hand in Paw Animal-Assisted Therapy
    • Hands of Hope Volunteers
    • Individual therapy for patients or family members to help with specific, individual challenges being faced
    • Neuropsychological testing
    • Parent-to-Parent Mentoring program
    • Quarterly Oncology Dad’s Group
    • Weekly inpatient Caregiver Dinner Support Group

    In addition to clinical services, Hope and Cope team members are actively engaged in health related clinical research. Through these research projects, the Hope and Cope team seeks to better the health and well-being of children diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder and their families.

    Until childhood cancer and blood disorders are eliminated, Hope and Cope is here to empower young people and their families and to foster a sense of healing throughout the medical journey.

    Avi Madan-Swain, PHD
    Professor, UAB Department of Pediatrics 
    Director, Hope and Cope Psychosocial Program