Clinical Interest for Patients
My clinical interests have always centered on improving the care and outcomes of allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) for all patients in need of an HSCT. As our BMT Team has grown, I am now able to focus on HSCT for children with life-threatening Non-Malignant Disorders. Specifically, as a Pediatric Immunologist, I have passion for HSCT to help children born with inherited Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders (PID), which includes all forms of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Diseases (SCID, Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome, and many more). As well as the more recently recognized PIDs of Immune-Dysregulation (such as IPEX, Gain of Function STAT3, and other even rarer disorders that we are discovering with current gene sequencing techniques). I believe that better understanding the causes of both the Immunodeficiency PIDs and Immune-dysregulation PIDs will result in direct improvement in the outcomes for allogeneic HSCT in each group. My other clinical interests are in constantly improving the results for Unrelated Cord Blood Transplantation. Here, I have started with the source and am a Founder and Medical Director of the University of Colorado Cord Blood Bank, one of the largest public CB Banks in the world that has provided life-saving unrelated CB grafts for children and adults in BMT Centers around the world. My other interests include suing the immune system to fight Cancer, improving our knowledge of Blood Stem Cell Biology, and understanding Graft Versus Host Disease, with the goals of better prevention and improved therapy and outcomes should GVHD occur.
My clinical philosophy has always been ‘Do the Right Thing for the Patient’. This means striving to provide the absolute best care, starting with diagnosis and throughout treatment, which relies on current and extensive knowledge of the biology and treatment of each of these relatively rare diseases, based on the scientific and medical knowledge, both in the literature and based on direct communication with other experts in the field. I have always believed and have seen repeatedly proven that greater scientific understanding of a disease process and how it harms the patient improves our care and ability to cure that disease. I also believe that recognizing and carefully considering the patient’s specific problems and needs in the context of their disease and its biology, allows for the informed changing or customizing the approach if required. As we define more disease using gene technology, additional challenges are being learned. Some of these patients’ diseases are very rare to very, very rare, where the world experience may be very few patients and clinical care is based on much less data and is helped by the courses of similar patients.
I am passionate about the outdoors and being in nature! In the winter, alpine skiing is my main outdoor focus. In the summer, it is drives to the remote mountains with hikes in natural settings. While I take nature photos, I am much more likely to grab my binocs or telescope to clearly see that eagle or moose. In town, the near-by drive through the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife refuge is a quick dose of nature and some awesome sunsets. Another passion is music at both indoors and outdoor setting, especially Red Rocks.
I have been a founding and active board member of Joseph's Journey, which sends children with life-threatening diseases on an outdoor adventure, such as a camping, hunting, fishing, or horse-back riding trips. We organize and host an annual Fishing Derby (for the last 17 years) for all these kids and their families, all of which I have been an integral participant.
I do not often do public speaking any more, but have done so on request, almost always about either Cord Blood Banking or unrelated donor recruiting or retention.