Asher Marks, MD, is a Yale Medicine hematologist and oncologist and director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology. He is also the director of the adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer program for Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.
“Adolescence is tough to begin with in terms of development, finding yourself, and fitting in with your peers,” says Dr. Marks. “And when adolescents are diagnosed with cancer, at the hospital, they will often self-isolate. They don't want to come out of the room. They just want to kind of be alone and do their thing.”
That’s what drove Dr. Marks to help create the Lauren Telesz/Smilow Teen Center. Having peers in similar situations, he says, gives teens and young adults a support network that can help them through treatment. “We know that psycho-social support is one of the most, if not the most important thing, for this population. So, we really focus on that,” he says.
Dr. Marks, who is an assistant professor of pediatrics (hematology/oncology) at Yale School of Medicine, is working on clinical trials to help find new treatments for tumors in adolescents and young adults. “Most clinical trials are not designed for them,” says Dr. Marks. He and his colleagues hope to change that by offering clinical trials for them to help improve survival rates.
“We have a very robust team looking to care for adolescents,” he says.