Monica Bhatia, MD

Section Chief, Stem Cell Transplantation

Academic Title(s)

  • Associate Professor of Pediatrics at CUMC

Education & Training

  • Medical School
    St. George’s University School of Medicine (Grenada)
  • Fellowship
    Childrens National Medical Center
  • Residency
    Albany Medical Center Hospital, NY

Interests/Specialties

  • Benign Hematology
  • Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
  • Stem Cell Transplantation

Conditions

Research & Grants

Go to Publications

Faculty Statement

I am a pediatric stem cell transplant physician with both clinical and research responsibilities. As the director of the stem cell transplant program, I care for patients who cannot be cured without a transplant. Our stem cell transplantation program has been in existence since the late 1990’s and provides multi-disciplinary care to all patients.

My research focuses on stem cell transplantation for patients with non-malignant conditions, particularly Sickle Cell Disease. Nationwide cure rates for patients with Sickle Cell Disease after stem cell transplantation approach over 90-95% and I have helped to develop a reduced toxicity conditioning regimen where our cure rates at Columbia University Medical Center are 100% in those with sibling donors. I am now focusing my efforts on developing conditioning regimens which will lower the late effects associated with transplant such as graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) and infertility. Furthermore, as ~15% of patients with Sickle Cell Disease have a matched sibling donor, I am also concentrating my efforts on unrelated donor transplants for these patients in order to expand this curative therapy to all patients afflicted with Sickle Cell disease.

I am a member of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and sit on the Non-Malignant Working Group Committee. I am a steering committee member of the newly created STAR (Sickle Cell Transplant Alliance for Research) organization which is a multi-center group that seeks to enhance the lives of children suffering from sickle cell disease through blood and marrow transplantation.  We conduct clinical trials and other research to create better transplant approaches-ones that consistently and safely achieve cure for the greatest number of children.

In addition to my work with Sickle Cell Disease , I am very interested decreasing the incidence of GvHD in patients after transplant. We are currently studying the use of CD34 selected transplants in our patients with both malignant and non-malignant conditions that has been found to be equally as effective but associated with a lower incidence of GvHD. I am also evaluating the use of probiotics in the post-transplant setting and will be conducting a Phase II trial through the Children’s Oncology Group which will assess the use of probiotics in transplant patients and its effect on the incidence of acute GvHD.

The goal of my work is to improve treatment options in patients undergoing stem cell transplants by offering cutting edge therapies which are effective but offer as little toxicity as possible.

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