Akron Children's Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders offers clinical treatment, including stem cell/bone marrow transplantation, for children and teens with all types of cancer and bleeding or clotting disorders. Read More...
U.S. News & World Report ranks Akron Children's Cancer Program one of the best among children's hospitals nationwide.
Akron Children’s hematology/oncology program is one of 12 programs in the nation recognized by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer as a “Pediatric Cancer Program.”
Akron Children's Hospital is a contributing member of the Children's Oncology Group (COG), the world's largest childhood cancer research entity.
The Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Akron Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive care to children, teens and young adults with all types of childhood cancer, sickle cell disease, hemoglobinopathies and bleeding/clotting disorders, as well as those who require stem cell/bone marrow transplants.
The team includes board-certified pediatric hematologists-oncologists (doctors who specialize in childhood cancer and blood disorders), advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, certified pediatric oncology nurses, pharmacists, social workers, clinical research associates, child life specialists, counselors and educators.
Our team is also strengthened by its close collaboration with other specialty departments at Children’s, such as surgery, anesthesiology, pain management, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, radiology, pathology, psychology, nutrition, critical care medicine, adolescent medicine, emergency medicine, chaplaincy services, physical therapy, palliative care and genetics.
As a major teaching institution, Akron Children’s offers fellowship training in pediatric hematology-oncology and is a major pediatric teaching hospital affiliated with Northeast Ohio Medical University. The division of hematology-oncology also actively participates in national clinical trials for childhood cancer and blood disorders, and continues to explore the causes and treatment of these diseases through our basic science research program.
As a member of the prestigious Children’s Oncology Group (COG), we participate in the development of National Cancer Institute-approved treatment protocols and offer the most up-to-date cancer therapies. Our cancer program is one of only 11 “Pediatric Cancer Programs” in the country as verified by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.
On average, we care for 8 newly diagnosed children with cancer each month. About 30 percent of these patients have leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer, and 25 percent are treated for brain tumors, the second major cause of cancer in children.
Hematology-oncology care is also provided at our campuses in Akron and Boardman. The Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders on our Akron campus is named after the family of David and Martha Showers, whose generous gift helped build the center and continues to help fund patient care, research and education programs.
Akron Children’s Hospital is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the world's largest childhood cancer research entity. COG’s goal is to cure and prevent childhood and teen cancer through scientific discovery.
As a member, the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders participates in National Cancer Institute-approved treatment protocols. Membership in the COG ensures that caregivers follow the same protocols of care, whether the patient lives in Akron or another city across the country.
Staff members also serve on a variety of committees within COG, helping to ensure that enrollment of childhood cancer patients in clinical trials remains a high priority. This practice has been proven to provide improved outcomes for patients.
In addition, staff are participating in an expanding portfolio of clinical research pertaining to supportive care for childhood cancer patients, late effects of cancer therapy, psychological outcomes for childhood cancer patients and family members, bleeding disorders, disorders of thrombosis and coagulation, white blood cell disorders, stem cell transplantation, sickle cell disease, and pediatric palliative care.
Annually, patients enroll in clinical trials more than 200 times. These studies include COG clinical trials to test new therapies for childhood cancer, “non-therapeutic” COG studies that explore such things as the biology of children’s cancer or the late-term effects of cancer treatment, and a variety of protocols examining non-malignant diseases.
The division’s translational research program explores the risk factors for childhood bone tumors and leukemias, focusing changes at the genetic level to expression patterns in cancer cells. Through analysis of tumor specimens and utilization of in vitro cellular models, Akron Children’s investigators, in collaboration with investigators at Kent State University and Northeastern Ohio Medical University, are identifying molecular pathways that drive cancer cell development, focusing on pathways that may be specifically targeted with drugs or may be manipulated by pharmacologic epigenetic reprogramming.
The Akron Children’s research team working on this is led by Steven Kuerbitz, MD, director of divisional research and the Stem Cell Transplantation Program. The team’s ultimate goal is to increase the effectiveness of cancer-treatment therapy while decreasing its potentially toxic side effects.
The division is also collaborating with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Advanced Cancer Therapies Network to offer its cancer patients access to phase I and phase 2 clinical trials. Trevor Weigand, an Akron Children's patient battling a childhood cancer called juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, is already benefitting from this arrangement. The cancer center's participation is being led by Sarah Rush, MD, a pediatric neuro-oncologist and director of Akron Children’s Brain Tumor Program.
Cancer center staff members are also involved in a number of quality improvement projects designed to help give children and teens who are fighting cancer and blood disorders the best chance of survival and quality of life.
The center offers two summer research internships to medical students who have been accepted into or have completed the first year of medical school.
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