Blaney to lead children’s cancer and hematology center

Dr. Susan Blaney, professor of pediatrics, has stepped into the role of director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers with a focus on providing high-quality, family-centered care, leading innovative research aimed at curing and preventing childhood cancer and blood disorders and providing world-class training and education to future leaders in the field.

She takes the helm from Dr. David Poplack, who has transitioned to associate director of the Cancer and Hematology Centers and director of Global HOPE (Hematology-Oncology Pediatric Excellence), an outreach program aimed at improving pediatric cancer treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more about Global Hope.

Dr. Susan Blaney

“I am extremely excited about this new role and opportunity. I can’t think of a better program or place to be and am looking forward to the incredible future of our Centers,” Blaney said, who also holds the Martha Ann and Harold M. Selzman, M.D. Endowed Chair in the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. “The Cancer and Hematology Centers provide outstanding, state-of-the-art family-centered care. The Centers’ faculty are nationally and internationally recognized leaders and experts in the field. They are performing cutting edge laboratory-based and clinical research to continue to improve the outcomes for children with cancer or hematologic disorders.”

Blaney has extensive experience in clinical and translational research with a focus on the development of new treatment strategies for children with brain tumors and other refractory cancers and is a former member of Poplack’s team at the National Institutes of Health. She is a member of Baylor’s Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Blaney joined Texas Children’s in 1995 and has held the role of deputy director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and executive vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine for 10 years. She is vice chair of the Children’s Oncology Group, an international clinical trial cooperative group of more than 200 children’s cancer programs across North America that is supported by the National Cancer Institute. Blaney is also a co-editor of the next edition of the leading textbook in the field of pediatric oncology and a co-editor of one of the leading textbooks for pediatrics.

Poplack said he is thrilled his friend and colleague of more than three decades has succeeded him as the director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, and he’s confident the Centers will continue to grow and prosper under her leadership.

“Susan has served as the deputy director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers for 10 years and has been closely involved in every aspect of oversight of our Centers,” he said. “I can think of no one in the country more qualified and capable of succeeding me and continuing our relentless pursuit of finding a cure for all children with cancer and blood disorders.”

Dr. David Poplack and Dr. Susan Blaney

Under Poplack and Blaney’s leadership, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers have grown exponentially – from seven faculty members, 42 employees, 4,000 square feet of laboratory space and less than $1 million in annual external grant funding in 1993 to nearly 200 faculty members, 1,000 employees, 100,000 square feet of laboratory space and $50 million in annual external grant funding.

As the largest pediatric cancer and hematology program in the nation, the Centers are a global powerhouse in pediatric cancer and hematology treatment, research and professional education. Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers has internationally-recognized programs in immunotherapy, cell therapy, personalized medicine, developmental therapeutics, rare cancers, neuro-oncology, long-term survivorship, and sickle cell disease. There are also premier programs in musculoskeletal tumors, neuroblastoma, liver tumors, blood and clotting disorders and many others.

This article originally appeared in Texas Children’s Hospital’s Connect newsletter.