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Posted: January 23rd, 2012
Five years ago, Dr. Cooke was recruited to Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine for his expertise in stem cell transplantation and the two most frequent and severe complications following this procedure: graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and a frequently fatal form of lung disease known as idiopathic pneumonia syndrome or IPS. On January 18, faculty and friends gathered to celebrate Dr. Cooke's impact at the school as the Ohio Eminent Scholar for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine and the Dr. Leonard C. Hanna Professor.
Dr. Cooke's research efforts aim to understand the specific mechanisms responsible for GVHD and IPS, particularly among children who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (or bone marrow transplants) for malignant and non-malignant disorders.
In true "bench to bedside" fashion, Dr. Cooke serves as medical director of the stem cell core facility at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, where insights from his laboratory research have advanced into successful multi-center human trials for the treatment of IPS in both pediatric and adult bone marrow transplant recipients. During his career, Dr. Cooke's research demonstrated the efficacy of the drug Enbrel (Etanercept) in combating the complications of GVHD and IPS. His current trials seek to better predict and prevent these problems in patients.
"Dr. Cooke's optimistic and dogged perseverance has led to important discoveries into mechanisms and potential new treatments for complex disorders associated with bone marrow transplantation," said School of Medicine Dean Pamela B. Davis. "The level of sophistication and expertise that he brings to the field is second to none."
Dr. Cooke also brings outstanding leadership to UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital as director of the pediatric blood and marrow transplant program and director of the multidisciplinary program in graft-versus-host disease. The number of children and young adults undergoing blood and bone marrow transplants at Rainbow has more than tripled through his care and expertise.
Dr. Cooke trained at two of the nation's top children's hospitals, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Boston Children's Hospital, and he is internationally recognized for his laboratory and clinical research. He was recently appointed to the American Society of Hematology's Scientific Subcommittee on Stem Cell Biology and previously served on the board of directors of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation as the director of Laboratory Science. Dr. Cooke also is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI), an honor society of physician-scientists who translate findings in the laboratory into clinical practice advancements. He is recognized as a Clinical Scholar of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is the recipient of a prestigious Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.