Experimental Hematology: Research on a Mission
The Experimental Hematology team at the OSUCCC – James is dedicated to cutting-edge research to advance innovative treatments for patients with blood cancers and other blood diseases.
Our world-renowned experts are transforming the way cancers are prevented, detected, treated and, yes, cured.
Blood diseases are complex, and today, cancer is no longer solely defined by location or even by stage – there is no routine blood cancer or blood disease. Each patient’s disease is different, acting and reacting differently to the bodies they are in and the treatments aimed at stopping them.
At the OSUCCC – James, the Experimental Hematology team’s mission is to work collaboratively to achieve a singular goal: to create and conduct impactful research that changes the lives of patients with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL), Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL), Sickle Cell Anemia and Auto Immune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA).
To deliver the most effective cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment, our world-renowned experts identify and understand blood cancers and blood diseases at the genetic level, unlocking the unique genetic and molecular code of each patient’s disease and pinpointing what makes it grow or cause symptoms – then discovering what stops it. We extend this work to developing therapies focused on impacting patient’s lives to allow either cure or survival living with the disease, absent any symptoms.
Our team comprises talented individuals from a multicultural background who strive to reach the highest accomplishment levels while also maintaining a humble demeanor, respecting each other and sharing knowledge. This enables us to extend in a broad range of directions, without fear of failure, to impact and change patients’ lives. How? As we seamlessly translate our research to the clinic, our highly compassionate care makes every patient feel as if he or she is the most important person here.
Who We Are
The OSUCCC – James Experimental Hematology Laboratory team, led by internationally recognized cancer specialist Dr. John C. Byrd comprises 10 different research teams and more than 85 individuals from across numerous medical and research disciplines who collaborate with one another (called interdisciplinary research teams).
This group’s expertise includes:
- Molecular Biology
- Genomics and Gene Editing
- Computational Biology
- Molecular Pharmacology
- Animal Models of Blood Cancers and Diseases
- Comparative Oncology
- Clinical Trial Design and Implementation
- Pharmacodynamic Studies
- Web Development Analytics
Each of these specialty teams have a specific focus within blood cancer and disorder research, and each is led by world-renowned blood experts and principal investigators:
- Farrukh Awan, MD, MS, MBBS
- James S. Blachly, MD
- John C. Byrd, MD
- Erin Hertlein, PhD
- Rosa Lapalombella, PhD
- Karilyn Larkin, MD
- Meixiao Long, MD, PhD
- Natarajan (Raj) Muthusamy, DVM, PhD
- Kerry Rogers, MD
- Jennifer Woyach, MD
Working together, the Experimental Hematology interdisciplinary team shares knowledge, expertise and world-class skills to move research and discoveries from the laboratory bench to the bedside.
For more information on the principal investigators leading each lab and their research, click on a name above.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a blood cancer or disorder, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a blood disease specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 (Ohio) to make an appointment.
What We Do
At any given time, numerous scientific, advanced research projects are in progress in the OSUCCC – James Experimental Hematology Lab – all designed and dedicated to advance innovative treatments for patients with blood cancers and other blood diseases.
Some highlights include:
New Clinical Trials
The OSUCCC – James Experimental Hematology Lab is one of the main national sites working on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Beat AML” master trial.
This clinical trial is designed to speed up testing for new Acute Myeloid Leukemia treatments. AML is a highly complex disease with many subtypes, so once a patient is diagnosed, this trial aims provide rapid turnaround for genomic testing – enabling each patient to be assigned a specific drug regimen.
Additionally, based on a patient’s specific genomic makeup, he or she may be able to be directed to experimental treatments – not otherwise available – that may have a higher likelihood of effectiveness.
The Experimental Hematology experts are also working on targeted drug and immune drug trials. These are designed to find out if moving away from chemotherapy whenever possible and using targeted drug treatments with less serious side effects would be better for certain patients.
For example, several trials are looking at oral drugs, immune therapies or their combinations. Patients take these medications either daily or intermittently – and to date, many patients have achieved very durable remissions.
The OSUCCC – James Experimental Hematology team of experts often present their findings at national and international meetings to medical experts from around the world. This includes a recent update on the ground-breaking CLL drug called ibrutinib, which in the five-year follow-up studies, is still seeing patients remain well and in remission on this therapy.
Other successes presented on the national scientific stage include other treatment agents developed by the Experimental Hematology experts and showing remarkable progress in blood disorder patients, including those patients who are not able to tolerate ibrutinib.
One challenge of blood disorder research is the ability to isolate tumor cells from normal blood cells so that the tumor cells can be studied individually.
The new Aria Fusion cell sorter (technically known as the BD FACSAria™ Fusion Cell Sorter), however, has changed that. By using high-tech lasers and small electrical impulses, different cell types can be detected, labeled with fluorescent molecules (known as tags), then physically pulled away from other cells – completely intact – for further study and analysis. For blood disorder patients, this means that the OSUCCC – James scientists can now not only study how each cell contributes to tumor development and survival, but also study why some tumors resist treatment. Knowing this can lead to alternate therapy strategies designed specifically for each patient.
Another exciting addition to the Experimental Hematology Lab is the BioMek® FXP – an automated workstation that enables the research teams to provide high throughput drug screening. That means these specialists can now screen large libraries of compounds, identifying existing therapies that can be used to treat leukemia and lymphoma.
Collaboration with Other OSU Schools
The Experimental Hematology team actively collaborates with:
The Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine, which enables these researchers to analyze treatments used for dogs diagnosed with lymphoma and determine if there is potential promise for helping human patients.
The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, which enables performance of cellular and plasma pharmacology in interpreting drug effects in animals that have already been diagnosed and are under drug treatment -- and how that might ultimately impact patients.
The Ohio State University College of Engineering, which enables the Experimental Hematology team to apply novel identification and characterization methods to small cell populations as well as deliver targeted therapeutics.