Hematology and Oncology, Inside Pediatrics

Charting New Ground in Treating Blood Clots in Infants

UAB assistant professor of pediatrics and Children’s of Alabama hematologist-oncologist Hope Wilson, M.D., is researching long-term anticoagulation for high-risk children thanks in part to a American Society of Hematology fellowship.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is an increasing problem in pediatrics and can be associated with significant morbidity. Although most children are at low risk for recurrence, some have ongoing risk factors, which increases their risk for having further thrombosis. Yet there is no specific guidance on the optimal duration of treatment for such patients.

Well, not yet, anyway. But if research from Children’s of Alabama hematologist-oncologist Hope Wilson, M.D., is successful, that question will have an answer.

This year, Wilson was named one of 23 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Clinical Research Training Institute (CRTI) participants, a prestigious award that will help fast track her research on long-term anticoagulation for high-risk children. The fellowship is a unique, year-long education and mentoring program for hematology fellows and junior faculty at academic medical centers with the opportunity to interact “with the finest in the field,” Wilson said.

Throughout the year, Wilson will receive intense review and critical feedback on her project. The goal is to have a polished proposal to submit for external funding at the end of the program. But the proposal is just the beginning of what the grant means for her career. “There is a lot of greatness that can happen as a result of the exposure,” she said, including lasting mentorship relationships and critical networking opportunities for potential future collaborations.

The CRTI program kicked off virtually in August, focusing on the foundation, methodologies, and application of patient-oriented clinical research. Participants will meet regularly throughout the year concluding in May 2021 at ASH headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Wilson’s interest in this topic came, in part, from the patients she sees in Children’s new pediatric thrombosis clinic, which she helped develop. The overall goal of the thrombosis program is to improve care for children affected by VTE. To this end, the team has worked to develop protocols and algorithms to standardize treatment for these children, who come from throughout Alabama as well as neighboring states. In just the past year, more than 100 patients have passed through the clinic, many with recurrent clots. 

That’s the population she’s focused on in her research. “Findings from this research will help fill this knowledge gap and provide critical data to inform clinical decision making, changing the way that we manage children who require long-term anticoagulation,” she said.

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