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Al-Kadhimi named director of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cell Therapy Program

The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB would like to welcome Zaid Al-Kadhimi, M.D., the new director of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cell Therapy Program (BMT) in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine’s Division of Hematology & Oncology.

Zaid Al-Kadhimi, M.D.
Zaid Al-Kadhimi, M.D.

Al-Kadhimi comes to UAB from the University of Nebraska and is an experienced clinical investigator in cellular therapy and tumor immunology. He joins the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center as a senior scientist and the Department of Medicine as a professor.

The BMT program provides a range of blood and bone marrow transplant options, including autologous and allogeneic transplants from related and unrelated donors. As the leader of the BMT program, Al-Kadhimi aims to develop new ways to minimize transplant-related toxicities and improve post-transplant immune recovery. Al-Kadhimi says these areas of interest will ultimately allow the BMT program to extend its curative potential to older and frailer patients and decrease the chance of infections and recurrence of blood cancers post transplant.

“We have tools that are potentially curative, but they can be dangerous for our patient population, which has a median age of late 60s to late 70s,” said Al-Kadhimi. “Our goal is to develop new platforms with chemotherapy, radiation and immune-rejection prevention regimens that are appropriate for the physiology of our patients and could lead to improved long-term survival and functional outcomes.”

Researchers in the BMT program contribute to the success of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center by translating ideas from the lab to the clinic and back, leading to an improved understanding of the nature of hematologic malignancies and how to prevent their relapse as well as transplant-related complications.

“We are excited to have Dr. Al-Kadhimi join the rich research environment at UAB and the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center,” said Bassel El-Rayes, M.D., deputy director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the Division of Hematology & Oncology. “We look forward to his leadership in the BMT program as we continue to pursue our mission of advancing our understanding of cancer to improve prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship for all people.”

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