Shilpa Hattangadi, MD, is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist who draws upon the latest information about how blood disease may develop to help provide new cutting-edge treatment for young patients. “A diagnosis just means we have a name to give to your symptoms,” she says to new patients. “We can now go about trying to cure your disease more easily because we have something to aim at.”
She is specifically excited by the growing understanding and potential uses of genomics in treatment of cancers and blood diseases. “The entry of whole genome sequencing allows us to better understand the normal human variation in both normal traits and disease severity,” she says. She treated one of her most memorable patients, who died of leukemia, when she was a resident, and the experience helped confirm that she was on the right career path. “I learned a lot about the meaning of life from her,” Dr. Hattangadi says.
Dr. Hattangadi is an assistant professor of pediatrics (hematology/oncology) and of pathology at Yale School of Medicine. She is involved in research aimed at better understanding how red blood cells normally develop. She hopes doctors will be able to use this information to better treat bone marrow failure syndromes in children whose bodies have stopped making red blood cells.