Michael Verneris, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Verneris is an assistant professor of pediatrics, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and the Masonic Cancer Center. His clinical interests include umbilical cord blood and/or bone marrow transplantation for acute leukemias, prevention of graft-versus-host disease and graft-versus-leukemia.
“Currently, I am focused on the following projects:
- The effect of an immune suppressive drug (cyclosporine A) on natural killer cell function. This drug is commonly used during bone marrow transplant and whether it impairs immune recognition of leukemia is hotly debated.
- Generation of NK cell from bone marrow stem cells.
- Characterization of NK cell receptors on cord blood T cells. Such receptors are uniquely expressed on cord blood T cells and may improve their ability to recognize leukemia.
- Investigating the impact of ‘double UCB transplantation’ on acute leukemia relapse. We have found a lower rate of leukemia relapse using this approach.
- The use of bone marrow irradiation (instead of total body irradiation) for pre-transplant therapy. Such an approach has the potential to increase the dose of radiation to sites of disease while sparing non-involved sites. This is expected to increase remissions and reduce side effects.”
Committed to finding a cure
“It is a privilege to be able to be involved in the care of children with cancer. My choice to pursue pediatric blood and marrow transplantation grew out of a combination of my love of children, their innocence and incredible resilience, and the inherent need to improve the lives of such children. Additionally, it is well established that many of the advances in the treatment of such children have been through both organized clinical and laboratory research. I wanted to be able to contribute to this.”
Children's Cancer Research Fund: Making a difference
“Children's Cancer Research Fund has made it possible for me to be recruited to UMN, to start my current research laboratory, and to continue this work. Moreover, with the seed money that I’ve received from Children's Cancer Research Fund, I’ve been able to successfully compete for national grants. Without this generous support, I would spend more time writing grants and less time concentrating on the actual research and clinical trials.”