Maine Medical Center Scientist Seeks New Routes to Treat Anemia
Patients undergoing dialysis and chemotherapy may have very different experiences, but many share one thing in common: anemia. Kidney disease often compromises the production of red blood cells, while chemotherapy can damage blood cell-forming tissues within bone marrow. Anemia often weakens, and further compromises these patients. Current treatments are expensive, involve frequent dosing, and can have detrimental side effects.
Don Wojchowski, MD, of the Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) is exploring how bone marrow generates new red blood cells, and how new anemia treatments might be developed for dialysis and cancer patients.
Dr. Wojchowski directs the Stem and Progenitor Cell Research Center at MMCRI, a team of scientists dedicated to understanding how stem cells develop into tissues and organs, how they respond to injury, and how they can be used for medical treatments. He has received international attention for his efforts to discover new ways to stimulate the production of red blood cells in these patients.
Dr. Wojchowski's laboratory is uncovering new molecules which prompt red blood cell development. "If we can understand the many ways that the body converts bone marrow to red blood cells, we should then be able to trigger this process via new approaches, perhaps with fewer side effects," he says.
Most recently, Dr. Wojchowski received international recognition for his research from the Roche Foundation for Anemia Research (RoFAR), a prestigious international foundation. This second phase research award to Dr. Wojchowski called attention to his "exciting, innovative work and impressive progress."
As a RoFAR award recipient, Dr. Wojchowski takes his place among renowned researchers from Duke, Vanderbilt, Mt. Sinai, the Children's Hospitals of Philadelphia and Boston, as well as several prestigious European research hospitals.
Maine Medical Center (MMC) is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1864, MMC is the state's largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing more than 6,000 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in southern, central, and western Maine.