New Brunswick-based Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health have appointed Dr. Niketa Shah as chief of pediatric bone marrow transplantation and cellular therapies at New Jersey’s leading cancer program and the only one in the state designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.
The selection comes following an extensive national search. Shah is also an associate professor of pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She was most recently the director of the Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program at Yale University and Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.
Shah will enhance and oversee the Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapies Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute, which, in collaboration with the Bristol Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, offers children, adolescents and young adults both allogeneic and autologous transplants for cancers including leukemia, lymphoma and solid tumor cancers.
The program also offers cell-based treatments like gene therapy and immunotherapy, including CAR T-cell therapy, and is one of the only programs in the state of New Jersey that utilizes stem cell transplants in the treatment of benign diseases in children such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, immune system disorders, bone marrow failure disorders and inherited metabolic disorders.
“While my diverse training spans across different countries, I am thrilled to be back in New Jersey, my second home, to lead Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapies Program,” Shah notes. “My vision is to offer stem cell transplants and cellular therapies to our pediatric patients near their homes, eliminating the need for pediatric patients to travel far or out of state for treatment. This approach provides an opportunity to revive parents’ dreams for their children, dreams that were shattered by their life-threatening diseases.”
“We’re thrilled for Dr. Shah to lead our skilled team of pediatric stem cell transplant physicians, and work alongside our advanced practice nurses, social workers, a pediatric psychologist and pediatric psychiatrist, who are all committed to the idea that children needing life-saving treatments deserve access to them close to home,” Dr. Peter Cole, chief of pediatric hematology/oncology and Embrace Kids Foundation Endowed Chair in Pediatric Hematology/ Oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute and professor of pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, said. “Her arrival significantly expands our pediatric BMT capacity and enhance the stature of our Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapies Program.”