Introducing Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist Peter Anderson, MD, PhD
This noted pediatric osteosarcoma expert shares his proudest discovery and a few reflections on patient care as he settles in at Cleveland Clinic Children’s.
Earlier this year, Cleveland Clinic Children’s welcomed clinician-research Peter Anderson, MD, PhD, to the staff of its Department of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation. Here’s a short profile of Dr. Anderson from a few different angles.
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Specialty interests: Pediatric osteosarcoma, solid tumors, cancer genetics and novel therapies, reducing toxicity of cancer treatment, outpatient therapy of cancer
Background in brief: Practiced at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he was section chief of non-neural solid tumors, and Mayo Clinic, where he launched the pediatric bone marrow transplant program. Medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Residency in both internal medicine and pediatrics at Duke; fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at University of Minnesota.
Research: More than 120 peer-reviewed publications, most notably on immune therapies and bone-seeking radiopharmaceuticals as targeted agents for osteosarcoma. Principal investigator on numerous studies, including two very large (> 200 patients) osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma immunotherapy trials. Currently studying how to boost effectiveness of radiation treatment with new medications.
Proudest discovery: “In the 1990s, I became discouraged about a particular chemotherapy side effect, mouth sores. After studying how glutamine heals mucosal tissue, I discovered that putting glutamine in a sugar suspension could promote mucosal healing during chemotherapy. With help from several colleagues, my discovery was turned into a commercial enterprise, Healios Products, which now distributes the glutamine disaccharide powder to cancer patients — and it is free for children.”
One of the key motivations behind his practice: “I want to help families of children with cancer have more outpatient therapy — and thus be able to sleep in their own beds.”
Collaborating with Taussig Cancer Institute: “Only 5 percent of cancer cases are in children, so the best new childhood cancer treatments will develop from adult cancer treatments. It’s a major advantage to be in an organization like Cleveland Clinic that provides both pediatric and adult cancer care, and where physicians can collaborate to do cutting-edge research. In this way, children can also benefit from advances coming out of Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute. My solid tumor group will work regularly with Taussig Cancer Institute colleagues.”
Patient care: “My focuses include improving communication with patients and families. We sometimes assume that families comprehend and remember most of what we tell them. To reinforce better understanding, I often provide a flash drive with files that include a one-page summary of the condition, key contact information, a personalized treatment calendar, images of the patient’s CT or PET scans (so they can visualize the tumor) and articles to help families become experts on the condition. These resources help educate and guide families.”