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Pediatric Oncology


Pediatric oncology services are provided at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Children's Hospital of Alabama. The Children's Hospital specialty center for the treatment of cancer is known throughout the United States as a center of excellence, and the comprehensive services provided cannot be found at any other facility in Alabama. UAB pediatric faculty are active members of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. The pediatric oncologists have expertise in the management of all childhood cancers and are world-renowned experts in the areas listed below.

Special Expertise

· Germ Cell Disease

· Long-Term Survivors

· Myeloid Disease (Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia)

· Neuroblastic Tumors

· Neuro-oncology


The Society for Pediatric Research gave the Young Investigator Award to Raymond G. Watts, MD, for his work on the neutrophil cytoskeleton.

General Information

General Information

800.822.0933 (800.UAB.0933)

Referring Physician Line

800.822.6478 (800.UAB.MIST)


Birmingham, Alabama

Outreach Clinic

· Huntsville Satellite Clinic, about 180 miles from Birmingham

· Montgomery Satellite Clinic, about 175 miles from Birmingham.

Physical Plant

The Pediatric Oncology Program is part of UAB's Comprehensive Cancer Center and is physically located at the nearby Children's Hospital of Alabama. Both inpatient and outpatient care are provided at the Children's Hospital, with the exception of patients requiring radiotherapy and bone marrow transplantation, which are provided at the Cancer Center.

Travel Assistance

Social workers assist in travel arrangements and coordinate transportation.


Social workers assist in lodging arrangements for families. A Ronald McDonald House and the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge are nearby.

Social Support

Social workers organize support groups, offer counseling and psychosocial support, and tutoring.

Home Health Care

Home health care is arranged.

Ages Treated

Children up to the age of 21 are accepted.

Clinical and Research Information

Professor and Director, Chief of Hematology/Oncology Section, Pediatrics

Thomas H. Howard, MD

Cooperative Group Membership

Children's Oncology Group (COG)

Activities in Cooperative Group

Participation in COG committees includes:

· Biological Response Modifier

· Myeloid Disease and Neuroblastoma committees

· Executive Committee

· Vice Chair of COG

Oncologists are Principal Investigators on several studies.

Average Number of Pediatric Clinical Trials


Pediatric Clinical Trial Coordinators

Vicky Adamson, Ruth "Taffi" Bailey, and Sheree McLean

Special Expertise

Germ Cell Disease

Investigators at UAB are active in national and international study development related to pediatric germ cell tumors.

Long-Term Survivors

About 70 percent of all children with childhood cancers will be cured of their disease and considered long-term survivors. This is defined as a patient who has survived five years since the initial diagnosis. Estimates using this figure show that by the year 2000, about one out of every 900 persons between the ages of 16 and 44 will be a survivor of childhood cancers. Children's Hospital is investigating the major problems these children may have in the future such as the incidence of secondary cancer. Information on the quality of life, treatments, and cure rates of childhood cancer patients can be used to redesign protocols and treatments to avoid unfavorable long-term effects.

Myeloid Disease

Researchers in UAB's pediatric oncology program participated in a study of a new chemotherapy agent that induced durable clinical and laboratory responses in patients with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). Now, the Division is the directing center for the North American JMML Project that is conducting the only JMML trial in the continent. This disease presently has no effective therapy other than allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, where the bone marrow is collected from living related or unrelated donors.

Neuroblastic Tumors

UAB researchers have led the former Pediatric Oncology Group, the current Children's Oncology Group, and the International Neuroblastoma Risk Groups working committee in developing risk groupings used to determine the management of patients with these tumors. Further, UAB participation in the investigation of a unique antibody therapy, chimeric anti-GD2, for high-risk tumors, and the leadership by UAB investigators, has resulted in a new study that will be activated in the next year to randomly test this new therapy following bone marrow transplantation.


There is a recently developed program at UAB in pediatric brain tumors. A new research study has opened to study gene therapy for high-risk pediatric tumors. Stemming from this effort, this program will be applying for support as one of the eight NCI-sponsored pediatric brain tumor programs for the development of innovative and unique phase I and II therapies.


Percent of children treated in each age range

Age Range





Percent Treated





Pediatric Oncology Program, 2001

No. of Inpatient Beds

No. of Admissions

Average Length of Stay (days)

No. of New Outpatients

Total Outpatient Visits

No. of Bone Marrow Transplants

No. of Oncologists