Cancer Team Performs 1st Stem Cell Transplant at St. Joseph's!

St. Joseph's stem cell transplant team 2019

Led by John Pawloski, MD, PhD, Program Director for Transplant Cellular Therapy at the UA Cancer Center at St. Joseph's, a team of hematologists/transplant physicians, nurses and support staff performed the first hematopoietic stem cell transplant at St. Joseph's in January 2019. This also marks the first time the procedure has been performed at any of the hospitals in the Dignity Health enterprise.

"I am honored to lead an incredibly talented and dedicated group of healthcare professionals who made our Cellular Therapy program a reality in just six short months from inception, and we are sincerely indebted to the administration and to community donors for support of the program," says Dr. Pawloski. "We look forward to many more cellular therapy 'firsts' at our cancer center in the coming months and year. 

Stem cell transplants are most often used for cancers affecting the blood or immune system, such as leukemia, lymphoma or multiple myeloma. 

"It was important to our cancer center to offer the procedure here because stem cell transplants can be the best treatment for specific cancers," says Rachel Ray, nursing coordinator for the program, "and it's our priority to provide the best care to each individual patient." 

Your donation today could help to radically improve the lives of someone burdened by a rare form of blood cancer. Donations = Hope. 


Photo info

Back Row (from left to right): Dr. John Pawloski, program director and transplant physician; Dr. Murali Kodali, transplant physician, John Palmer, RN, and Rachel Ray, RN, transplant coordinator. Front Row: Dr. Sara Park, transplant physician; Christan Mychajlonka, pharmacist; Sandra Florez, RN, Tiffany Whitaker, RN 


About UA Cancer Center at St. Joseph's

The University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph's. Donations allowed St. Joseph's to open its cancer center in 2015 to ensure cancer patients in Arizona have access to the most advanced and comprehensive care available anywhere in the state. 

The spacious new facility offers the pinnacle of comfort and care to patients and their loved ones throughout every stage of cancer. Financial gifts have enabled St. Joseph’s to purchase and install state-of-the-art technologies for diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, while simultaneously recruiting world-renowned oncologists committed to personalizing therapies to match patient need.

Thanks to donations, the center has achieved many milestones in its two years of operation:

  • Opened 11 cancer specialty programs
  • Conducted 3,416 radiation treatments and 3,656 radiology exams
  • Completed 769 consultations in which St. Joseph’s provided free in-person interpreters to ensure non-English-speaking patients understood diagnoses, treatment plans and other related information
  • Introduced nine clinical trials, with another 20-plus on the horizon
  • Organized 41 cancer-support sessions
  • Offered 12 lifestyle classes for cancer survivors to improve their qualityof life through better self-care and nutrition.

St. Joseph’s also welcomed several new specialists to the team to ensure patients have access to world-leading expertise for all types of cancer. Most recently, the center announced the opening of a Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology Clinic, specializing in  colon and rectal cancers, stomach and esophageal malignancies, hepatobiliary and pancreatic malignancies. 

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