Elliot Vichinsky, MD is the Director of Hematology/Oncology at Children's Hospital and Research Center at Oakland, the Northern California Sickle Cell Center, the California Thalassemia Center and the California Reference Hemoglobin Laboratory. Dr. Vichinsky diagnoses and treats children with blood disorders, cancers and tumors.
He founded and directs the largest hemoglobinopathy center of sickle cell disease and thalassemia in North America. The center is dedicated to developing therapy to treat and cure the 200,000 infants born worldwide each year with sickle cell or thalassemia. He is working with the World Health Organization in studying the worldwide public health problem of thalassemia and sickle cell disease.
He has been instrumental in implementing newborn screening programs for blood diseases in California and throughout the world. Dr. Vichinsky was responsible for the development of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, which has cured hundreds of children who had sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and various cancers. He has developed techniques that make blood safer for chronically transfused patients. These patients often suffer from iron overload as a result of either transfusion therapy or genetic mutations. Iron overload causes thousands of deaths each year. Dr. Vichinsky has been an international leader in developing drugs to remove excess iron and non-invasive equipment to measure iron in the body. He has also been a leader investigating novel drugs that turn on hemoglobin-producing genes which enable sickle cell disease and thalassemia patients to produce their own healthy blood.
Dr Vichinsky is the Medical Director of The Cooley’s Anemia Foundation. Dr. Vichinsky’s focus is on translational research in hemoglobinopathies and iron overload.
Dr. Vichinsky served as Editor in Chief of the journal, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. He has been a reviewer for several journals, has published literally hundreds of articles, abstracts, and book chapters, and has presented widely on the topics of sickle cell disease and thalassemia.
Dr. Vichinsky has been the principle investigator of several studies including, but not limited to the following: national preoperative transfusion study; neuropsychological dysfunction in sickle cell disease; cerebral ischemia: early diagnosis and effect of intervention on cerebral metabolism, acute chest syndrome study; safety study of infusions of VX-104 in patients with sickle cell anemia; decompression coring versus conservative therapy for avascular necrosis of the hip in sickle cell disease; E beta thalassemia response to chemotherapy; secondary hemochromatosis in beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease.
In addition, Dr. Vichinsky has been the Primary Investigator of several chemotherapy intervention trials in sickle cell and thalassemia including: hydroxyurea, erythropoietin, arginine butyrate, sodium phenyl butyrate, magnesium, and gardos channel inhibitors. His major research interest has been in transfusion therapy and iron overload and has served as principle investigator on studies evaluating allo-immunization, red cell pheresis, and efficacy of transfusion therapy.
He directs an iron overload program which evaluates non-invasive iron measurements (ferritometer, T2* MRI) and new iron chelation therapies. Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland is one of four places in the world with a SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interface Device) that can accurately non-invasively determine the body’s iron. Children's is one of only a handful of hospitals in the nation using special software technology, T2*, in combination with a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) machine to safely measure iron levels in a child’s heart.
Elliot Vichinsky, M D
Selected Professional Affiliations
2005-Present American Pediatric Society
Selected Presentations, Publications
“Secondary Hemochromatosis in Beta-Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Disease” Biology of Iron Overload and New Approaches to Therapy. NIDDK/NHLBI. Bethesda, MD. April 23, 2002.
“Current Approaches to Sickle Cell Disease,” 37th Annual Advances and Controversies in Clinical Pediatrics. UCSF, San Francisco, CA. May 13-15, 2004
“Changing Patterns of Thalassemia Worldwide” Eighth Cooley’s Anemia Symposium. Orlando, FL March 17-19, 2005.
“Advances in the Treatment of Iron Overload in Pediatric Anemias,” The New Treatment Paradigm in the Management of Pediatric Anemias, ASPHO Satellite Symposium, May 14, 2005.
Lee PDK, Fung EB, Milet M, Bhatia S, Harmatz P, Vichinsky E, and Multi-Center Study of Iron Overload Study Group. Endocrinopathies in Thalassemia (THL) and Sickle-Cell Disease (SCD): Baseline Results from a Multi-Center Longitudinal Study. The Endocrine Society’s 87th Annual Meeting. June 2005.
“Clinical Advances in Fetal Hemoglobin Modulators.” 10th International Conference on Thalassaemia & Haemoglobinopathies & 12th International TIF Conference for Thalassaemia Patients and Parents. Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 7 – 10, 2006.