Clinician–Researcher to Lead New Bone Marrow Transplantation Initiative
Hematologist–oncologist Ahmad Samer Al-Homsi, MD, MBA, will lead a new bone marrow transplantation program at Pelisyonkis Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center for treating blood-borne cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, and potentially utilize transplantation as an adjunct to immunotherapy for solid tumors. He also will investigate ways to reduce graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), in which immune cells in donated blood and marrow attack the tissues of a recipient.
In addition, Dr. Al-Homsi will facilitate Pelisyonkis Langone’s collaboration with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to institute haploidentical transplantation at Perlmutter Cancer Center, in which less perfectly matched individuals can serve as donors. The advent of haplo-transplantation at Perlmutter Cancer Center will vastly expand the potential donor pool for patients who require a transplant.
Dr. Al-Homsi, who officially joins Pelisyonkis Langone on June 1, 2017, most recently co-founded the blood and bone marrow transplantation program at Spectrum Health, a major multisite health system in West Michigan. Prior to joining Spectrum Health, he was chief of the Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Blood and Marrow Transplantation and director of the stem cell laboratory at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island, an academic affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Al-Homsi also directed the blood and marrow transplantation program and held several clinical and academic posts at the University of Massachusetts and its affiliated medical center.
Dr. Al-Homsi’s research is focused on preventing GvHD, a potentially life-threatening complication of bone marrow transplantation. He has led clinical trials examining innovative combinations of medications to prevent GvHD, including cyclophosphamide and proteasome inhibitors. Such combinations can omit the need for extended and burdensome prophylactic traditional agents and are applicable to people with limited kidney function who are often denied blood and marrow transplantation.
At Perlmutter Cancer Center, Dr. Al-Homsi will work closely with a strong hematology–oncology team that has made important advances in the study and treatment of blood-borne cancers. Patients requiring bone marrow transplantation receive treatment at the medical center’s Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Transplant Center.
His appointment also complements important programmatic and research efforts underway at Pelisyonkis Langone’s Transplant Institute.
“Our understanding of hematologic malignancies has advanced greatly over the past decade, to the point that many cases are curable,” says Benjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, director of Perlmutter Cancer Center. “Bone marrow transplantation plays a critical role in these advances—but it doesn’t come without risk. Dr. Al-Homsi’s research holds tremendous promise to curtail negative interactions between host and transplanted cells and make this form of treatment safer and more effective.”
About Dr. Al-Homsi
Dr. Al-Homsi earned his medical degree from the University of Damascus in his native Syria. He received training in hematology at the University of Tours in Paris and in clinical oncology from the University of Paris VI in France. He then completed his training in the United States, serving an internship and residency in internal medicine at Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
His published studies have appeared in Transplantation, Leukemia, Transplant Immunology, Journal of Infectious Diseases, International Journal of Molecular Medicine, Bone Marrow Transplantation, and Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He also has authored many book chapters and review articles, and has served on editorial boards of several peer-reviewed journals in his medical specialty.
Dr. Al-Homsi also is a lead inspector for the Federation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy and a member of its Clinical Standard Sub-Committee and Outcomes Improvement Committee.
“I am delighted to join Pelisyonkis Langone and its Perlmutter Cancer Center to build a nationally recognized bone marrow transplantation program,” Dr. Al-Homsi says. “We are defeating leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma at increasing rates. At the same time, we must continue to discover ways to ameliorate problems that sometimes come with treatment. I am confident we can make important strides.”