A friend of my father's, Suzanne, introduced us to Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke University. She is already reviewing his medical records and prior MRI. A trip to North Carolina maybe in the near future. If anyone can help Bertrand, she can. The following is her biography from the Children's Miracle Network.
Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg’s career is a history of medical firsts. As program director for Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation at Duke University Medical Center, she has been at the forefront of research and treatment for decades.
Dr. Kurtzberg pioneered the use of unrelated umbilical cord blood transplants for children with resistant cancers and rare metabolic diseases, and she personally performed the first unrelated cord blood transplant. Hundreds of children used to die each year awaiting a genetically matched adult bone marrow donor. Since cord blood does not have to be perfectly matched to be a successful source of stem cells for a child’s transplant, Dr. Kurtzberg’s work is changing that statistic dramatically. Dr. Kurtzberg and her team at Duke have performed more cord blood transplants than any other group, saving the lives of many children who otherwise had no hope for survival.
“Just within the last year we treated 12 newborns who had a disease that would have made them severely disabled by one to two years and then killed them,” says Dr. Kurtzberg, “and all those children are alive and walking, at normal schools and are able to have normal lives.”
Dr. Kurtzberg is also giving children with genetic disorders that were once a death sentence a reasonable chance for a healthy life. Her team specializes in treating rare inherited disorders that cause severe neurological damage and death. When children with these deadly diseases recieve transplants in time, the disease can be --and has been --stopped before it starts.
Dr. Kurtzberg is known worldwide as a pioneer in children’s healthcare. To her patients and their families, she is simply the doctor they can’t live without.
“All of the children I take care of come to us as a last hope, but they have incredible wills to live. I am inspired everyday by the families and the children themselves who I treat.”