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. UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital 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.
- 2008 Distinguished Leadership As Chair of the CAF Medical Advisory Board
- 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California
- 2007 Charles F. Whitten, M.D. Lecture, SCDAA and NHLBI, Washington, D.C.
- 2007 Chairman’s Award, SCDAA and NHLBI, Washington, D.C.
- 2007 Grateful Families Award, Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
- 2005 Bronze Bambino Lifetime Achievement Award, Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
- 2004 Patient Commitment Award, Sickle Cell Community Health Network of Northern California
- 2003 Patient Appreciation Award, Thalassemia Action Group
- 2003 Social Worker’s Award, Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
- 2000 Scientific Achievement Award, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute
- 1997 Senior Scientist Award, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute
- 1996 Cooley's Anemia Award, Cooley's Anemia Foundation
- 1995 Miracle Maker Award, Children's Miracle Network
- 1979 Founder Award, Children's Sickle Cell Clinic, Seattle, Washington
- 1979 Honor Award, Washington State Sickle Cell Program
- 1974 Alpha Omega Alpha Award
- 1974 Cum Laude, State University of New York Downstate
- 1970 Cum Laude, University of Wisconsin
- Lessing S, Vichinsky E. Eds. A parent's handbook for sickle cell disease, Part I: Birth to 6 Years of Age. State of California Department of Health, Genetic Disease Branch, 1990.
- Earles A, Lessing S, Vichinsky E, Eds. A parents' handbook for sickle cell disease, Part II: 6 to 18 Years of Age. California Department of Health, Genetic Disease Branch, 1993.
- Vichinsky E. Contributing Ed. Year book of Pediatrics 2005. Stockman III, James (editor)
- Vichinsky EP (Editor). Cooley’s Anemia Eighth Symposium. Annals N Y Acad Science. 2005;1054.
- Vichinsky E, et al. Standards of Care Guidelines for Thalassemia. UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland. 2000, revised 2009.
Selected Professional Affiliations
- 2005-Present American Pediatric Society
- 2000-Present American Medical Association
- 1997-Present American Society of Gene Therapy
- 1993-Present Society of Pediatric Research
- 1986-Present Western Society for Pediatric Research
- 1985-Present American Federation for Clinical Research
- 1985-Present American Society of Hematology
- 1985-Present Alameda/Contra Costa County Medical Association
- 1985-Present California Medical Association
- 1981-Present American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
- 1982-Present East Bay Pediatric Society
- 1979-Present Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics
- 1969-Present Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society