Cancer patients Kimberly Smythe, 34, and Brita Edlbauer, 70, rang the bell today and are going home less than three weeks after becoming the first patients to receive bone marrow transplants at Orlando Health Cancer Institute. The moment marked a very special occasion for both women in their cancer journey and for Orlando Health’s 100-year history of taking care of the residents of Central Florida.
The transplants for both patients were led by recently hired bone marrow transplant (BMT) specialist Yasser A. Khaled, M.D., who has been named medical director of the Orlando Health Cancer Institute Bone Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapy program.
“It’s a very exciting time to be part of Orlando Health Cancer Institute and help enhance the array of treatment options we can offer our patients,” says Dr. Khaled, “BMT augments the continuity of cancer care for our patients, enabling them to receive all the treatment they need right here in one place from the team of physicians and nurses they know and are familiar with.”
Orlando Health Cancer Institute Bone Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapy will offer autologous and allogeneic BMT to effectively treat all kinds of blood cancers in adults, including leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Among the program’s top priorities within the first year will be accreditation from the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), a standard for excellence in cellular therapy. Organizations who pass the threshold for FACT accreditation have voluntarily complied with the most comprehensive standards in the field, verified by rigorous peer-reviewed inspections.
Dr. Khaled brings to Orlando Health a wealth of experience, including service as medical director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Center at Methodist Le Bonheur Health Care in Memphis, Tennessee. Under his direction, the program achieved top 10% in survival outcomes in the country in less than four years according to the National Marrow Donor Program. Dr. Khaled also served as clinical director and medical director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Center at AdventHealth (2009-2015), where he established the program as the second largest in the state of Florida and achieved national top 10% in survival as well.
“We’re thrilled to have Dr. Khaled join the Orlando Health family and bring his expertise in cellular therapy back to Central Florida,” says Daniel Buchholz, M.D., interim president of Orlando Health Cancer Institute. “His experience developing and leading notable bone marrow transplant programs combined with what we have in place for advanced cancer treatment will further cement Orlando Health Cancer Institute’s place as a leader in the field.”