Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is one of only two pediatric NCORPs in the country.
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At the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (or “NCCBD,” for short), what sets us apart is simple: We offer family- and patient-centered pediatric oncology and hematology care with an outstanding, expansive clinical and support services team as well as excellent research programs.
We’re honored to be one of only two designated pediatric National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Programs (or “NCORP”) in the country. Through the NCORP award, the National Cancer Institute acknowledges that Nemours is a fully integrated pediatric cancer network with excellence in clinical research, clinical care and quality improvement.
Comprehensive Pediatric Oncology and Hematology Care
NCCBD isn’t actually a “place,” but an established multisite pediatric oncology (cancer) and hematology (blood disorders) program made up of four core locations, all of which are members of the Children’s Oncology Group (or “COG”):
- Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (in Wilmington, Del.)
- Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville (in Jacksonville, Fla., in partnership with Wolfson Children’s Hospital)
- Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Pensacola (in Pensacola, Fla.)
- Nemours Children’s Hospital (in Orlando)
When combining our patient numbers from our many Nemours locations in the North and South, we’re honored to serve as one of the largest pediatric hematology/oncology programs in the country. Parents from all over the country and the world entrust us with their children’s care. But it’s not just about the numbers of patients we see. It’s about our commitment to pooling our resources and expertise from these different geographically distinct and outstanding hospitals to build a team that’s focused on improving outcomes, reducing side effects, and providing state-of-the-art therapies.
Experienced, Multicampus Team Working Together to Care for Kids
At the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (NCCBD), we work tirelessly to give children with cancer and blood disorders truly comprehensive, exceptional care. That means helping kids not just live — but live longer and with a better quality of life for the short- and long-term.
Here are just a few of the reasons you can feel confident choosing NCCBD for your child’s care:
The Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is one of only two designated pediatric National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Programs (NCORP) in the country.
That means that, as one combined team of experts, we:
- communicate and collaborate about children’s individual diagnoses and treatments
- compare our results
- share what we learn — in the lab and our day-to-day patient care
The specific aims of NCORP are to increase community engagement in the care of patients with cancer and to better understand the science of delivering high-quality care in the community setting, including treatment, symptom and pain management, and health outcomes of those affected. There’s a particular focus on removing barriers to research participation and novel therapies for underserved populations.
Getting Multiple Opinions Without Ever Making Another Appointment
Spanning our multiple NCORP locations, Nemours teamwork includes life-saving practices like our weekly system-wide “tumor board” meetings, where pediatric oncologists and other Nemours specialists representing various medical disciplines in the Delaware Valley and throughout Florida gather to discuss complex cancer cases.
So when you come to one of our Nemours locations, it’s like getting not just a second opinion, but a third and fourth based on the broad expertise, insights and experiences from all of our established pediatric oncology and hematology teams.
The success of NCCBD’s NCORP is attributed to this cross-campus collaboration — and the hard work and dedication of our coordinators and investigators. We’re all working toward the same goal — to improve outcomes for children with cancer.
At the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, we operate focused programs in pediatric cancer research (the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research) and sickle cell disease (the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Research Program). Our federally funded, comprehensive hemophilia program in Jacksonville also serves our patients in Pensacola and Orlando. Everything we do at the bedside impacts our research — and everything we learn in the lab impacts our care.
Progress in pediatric cancer and blood disorders comes from participation in collaborative clinical research. We do this research because we believe it will benefit our current patients and children diagnosed in the future.
- improves the quality of care
- provides access to state-of-the-art therapies in a safe and controlled environment
- ensures that we never miss an opportunity to do better for our patients and families
Across all of our sites, we support (and often lead) many Children’s Oncology Group (COG) clinical trials and investigator-initiated studies, with ongoing collaboration among our clinicians, hematology/oncology specialists and researchers. At any given time, we’re involved in approximately 100 COG and 25 non-COG clinical trials. We also conduct additional studies in our research labs. Many of our patients participate in clinical trials of one type or other.
Expansive Clinical and Research Expertise
At NCCBD, we work to maximize Nemours’ resources across all of our locations.
Our mission is to:
- implement a coordinated research strategy for cancer and blood disorders
- enable quality clinical and research efforts
- develop educational resources and programs for our care teams to utilize across all disciplines
In everything we do, across all of our locations, we work together with two common goals: To find a cure and to reduce side effects.
Our impressive team of world-class pediatric specialists is committed to researching new treatments and cures as they are to providing the very highest level of clinical care for children. Having these doctors/researchers together in one organization provides the opportunity for collaboration as they pursue their passion to find answers to questions such as, “How do we personalize medicine for children?” “What is the latest treatment available?” and “Is there a safer way to provide therapy?”
Through the combined expertise of physicians and researchers across our children’s health system, we have almost unmatched resources available to bring the latest advances in science from the laboratory bench to the bedside, to share information, and to arrive at best practices in children’s health.
Extensive Research Collaborations
NCCBD has been a full member of the Children’s Oncology Group (since it formed in 2000) and a founding member of the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP). Nemours locations in Delaware and Florida also have received accreditation from the internationally recognized Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) — a group of leading experts that recognizes our work in the field of blood and bone marrow transplantation.
Our other research partnerships also include:
- Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU)
- The Hemophilia Alliance
- Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
- Sarcoma Alliance for Research Through Collaboration (SARC)
- St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
- Suncoast Research Base (formerly the Moffitt Research Base)
- Sunshine Project
- University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute
More children enrolled in clinical trials equals better outcomes for all kids. With more than 25 years of experience in clinical trials, Nemours is dedicated to offering clinical trials to help improve children’s care now — and hopefully far into the future.
As a National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), we’ve invested significant time and effort into improving outcomes through the prevention and treatment of symptoms — that is, increasing participation in cancer control trials (which aim to manage symptoms and reduce treatment side effects) by educating families and community physicians about what these studies are, how they work and why they’re so important. As a result, Nemours is among the leaders in participation in symptom management and prevention research.
Our focused, well-resourced organization-wide efforts have lead to national recognition and leadership. Each of our locations also has been recognized for having outstanding participation in clinical trials, and for clinical trial access and management.
As one of the country’s largest children’s health systems, Nemours is poised to become a national leader in sickle cell research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) designated the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders’ (NCCBD) Comprehensive Sickle Cell Research Center a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (or “COBRE”).
In collaboration with Delaware State University, the NCCBD Comprehensive Sickle Cell Program received a $10.5 million, five-year COBRE grant from the NIH to study a new approach to gene therapy that will correct the sickle cell mutation. Nemours researcher will also study barriers that may impact quality of care and health outcomes.
A genetic disorder of the red blood cells, sickle cell is a chronic and potentially debilitating childhood disease. Many kids face barriers that may impact quality of care and health outcomes.
So the NIH grant is focused on:
- preventing symptoms associated with sickle cell
- providing strong psychosocial support for families
- studying the quality of care provided
- identifying new and exciting genetic approaches to treatment and a cure
- training the next generation of sickle cell researchers
The COBRE investigators will pursue the development of molecular therapy for sickle cell disease, with the short-term goal being to conduct a methodical study to correct the sickle cell gene mutation. Scientists will be looking for ways to fix the single gene that’s “broken” in those with sickle cell disease by using lab techniques know as “gene editing.”
This grant will allow us to cultivate cutting-edge genetic science techniques while also addressing children’s vulnerability to complications, as well as the effects of family stress and other psychosocial risk factors.
A recent report from the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) detailed the top enrolling institutions for cancer control and supportive care studies. (The goals of cancer control trials are to manage symptoms and reduce treatment side effects.) As a unified program, Nemours ranked third place overall for top enrolling institutions. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children individually ranked seventh among all 102 institutions.
When compared with the three top-rated U.S. children’s hospitals for pediatric oncology and hematology, Nemours is on par with or exceeds national benchmarks when it comes to:
- infection prevention
- five-year cancer survival rates
- bone marrow transplant survival rates
At each of our sites, our Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders teams work with other health care organizations in our communities. This allows us to pool our pediatric oncology and hematology expertise, experience and facilities to give the children we treat the most optimal care from some of the best minds and facilities in each of our respective regions.
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (Wilmington, Del.) collaborates with:
- Helen F. Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Care health system (in Newark, Del.), a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center our patients visit for radiation treatments
- Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University (in Philadelphia), also an NCI-designated cancer center
Nemours Children’s Hospital (Orlando) collaborates with:
- UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health, which offers our patients advanced state-of-the-art pediatric radiation therapy services managed by a pediatric radiation oncologist. Proton therapy service for cancer patients is anticipated to start in 2016.
- University of Central Florida College of Medicine, which is co-located, along with Nemours Children’s Hospital, in Lake Nona Medical City — one of the country’s emerging leaders in bioscience and research where scientific and medical advancements are made every day. There are ongoing collaborative research projects with pediatric subspecialists at NCH. Medical City is also home to the University of Florida Research and Academic Center, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and Orlando VA Medical Center.
Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville collaborates with:
- Mayo Clinic Hospital in Florida, who we partner with, along with Wolfson Children’s Hospital, to offer blood and blood marrow transplants to our pediatric oncology and hematology patients
- University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute, where our patients go to receive proton therapy. This advanced institute founded to treat cancer patients with less destructive radiation therapy — proton energy instead of X-ray radiation. It’s the only facility of its kind in the southeastern United States.
- Wolfson Children’s Hospital, attached to our clinic by a walkway, works hand-in-hand with our clinic’s pediatric oncology and hematology care team to offer inpatient care and therapy services. We work together to provide a medical home for children with cancer from around the world.
Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Pensacola collaborates with:
- The Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, which is connected to — and works hand-in-hand with — our clinic to offer inpatient care and therapy services.
At each of our Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders locations, we’re surrounded by experts in all fields of pediatrics, from neurosurgery to ophthalmology, from general surgery to orthopedics. Having the expertise and care of the full spectrum of pediatric specialists, right at our fingertips, makes your child’s care the most comprehensive it can be.
Families are an essential part of the healing process. We encourage parents, guardians and key family members to actively participate in our patients’ care. After all, no one knows your child better than you do. That’s why our Nemours hospitals and children’s clinics (as well as our Jacksonville, Fla., partner in inpatient care, Wolfson Children’s Hospital) we’ve been at the forefront of something called, “family-centered care,” a philosophy that emphasizes collaboration with patients and their families. Some hospitals have just started offering family-centered care, but at the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders family-centered care has been part of our clinical culture for years.
Our family-centered model of care means we:
- ensure that caregivers and family are part of the same team, working together to develop a personalized plan that best meets your child’s needs
- recognize that families, however they’re defined, are essential to children’s health and well-being, and are allies for quality and safety within our health care system
- take the time to explain the diagnosis and treatment in understandable terms
- want you to be an active participant in the decision-making process
encourage you to stay by your child’s side as much as possible.
Our Family-Supportive Environment
Some of our family-centered offerings include:
- an open family visiting policy
- private patient rooms and family-friendly units designed to be a home away from home
- encouragement for parents to participate with their child’s care team on daily rounds (when the medical care team goes over each child’s care — discussing treatment plans and getting updates from the nursing staff)
- invitations for patients and families to participate in activities where they can share their concerns and offer feedback, such as advisory councils (hospital and pediatric oncology and hematology) for our patients to ensure that their voices are heard
sibling activities, resources and support (through the SuperSibs! program)
Support to Help the Whole Family Heal
At the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, we know that cancer and blood disorders can have a profound effect on the whole family. Parenting a child with a serious illness can take its toll physically, emotionally and spiritually. That’s why we offer comprehensive resources and support to the parents and guardians of our patients — through services such as social work, Child Life, financial counseling, pastoral care, and therapy services. Massage and Healing Touch are also available at some sites.
Siblings also can feel afraid, worried, angry and lonely and need a place where they can feel supported and honored for the unique role they play in their brother‘s or sister’s journey. We offer guidance and encouragement for our patients’ siblings — helping them cope and feel acknowledged, important, understood and special too.
We also strive to provide soothing, welcoming spaces — to help the whole family heal — such as chapels, rooftop gardens and outdoor areas where you can get some quiet and fresh air outside of the hospital. We know how difficult this time is — and we want to relieve as much of the stress as possible.
Providing the right environment and support for our patients and their families is a critical part of successful outcomes. We closely follow measures of patient and family satisfaction to identify areas for improvement and ensure that we’re doing everything we can to put our patients and their families at ease.
Nemours is leading the way when it comes to technological integration in the care of our patients, thanks to the development and use of our comprehensive, award-winning electronic health record (or “EHR”). In addition to unifying all of our physicians, researchers and clinicians across locations and specialties, we’ve designed a system that connects referring physicians and patient families so that every member of the care team can be informed at the same time — which helps improve the health of the child at every step.
Promoting Ongoing Safety
Our EHR has drastically improved medication safety, in particular, throughout our health system. For one, our doctors are no longer writing prescriptions on a piece of a paper. They’re entering all prescriptions into the EHR, which then stores the information and sends the prescription directly to the pharmacy of your choice. And that means the pharmacist doesn’t have to try to interpret the health care provider’s writing — plus, the prescription will be waiting for you to pick up on your way home.
The EHR also automatically checks:
- dosages, to make sure they’re right, based on your child’s age and weight
- possible negative interactions with other medications your child is taking
- for any allergies to medications your child might have
Then the system alerts your child’s care team about any concerns and prevents any potential problems.
We’ve also added a new layer to the EHR that permits researchers to easily identify patients eligible for clinical trials and those who’ve consented to clinical research, and to track all patient information to ensure the safety and integrity of the trials.
Your Own Private Parents' Portal
To help you stay on top of the details of your child’s care, we offer MyNemours — a secure Internet portal that allows you to view select areas of your child’s electronic health record with Nemours. You can access these records anytime, day or night, from anywhere. Schedule appointments, read customized, informative content from Nemours’ KidsHealth.org, and get your child’s medications refilled online. And it’s secure, confidential — and free.
Easy Electronic Access for Community Physicians and School Nurses
Your child’s entire electronic medical record is integrated into NemoursLink, our electronic health records system for caregivers outside of Nemours. It’s a secure, online environment that connects all phases of care for your child — inpatient, outpatient, at home and at the referring physician's office. That means everyone who cares for your child (whether they’re at a Nemours office or outside of our system) can be on the same page about your child’s care at the same time.
Through a program called the “Student Health Collaboration,” NemoursLink also offers Delaware families enhanced care and connections throughout the state by allowing Delaware public school nurses, who are licensed health care providers, to be a part of a child’s care team. With your permission, the school nurse can access current medical information such as medications, diagnosis information, treatment plans and care instructions to help the team provide better care while your child’s in school.
At the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, we want to help patients and families understand their child’s condition — what’s happening in the body and what to expect on their journey, every step of the way.
Our care teams walk you through everything, providing comprehensive educational information and resources, from diagnosis through treatment. Through Nemours’ experts at KidsHealth.org — the No. 1 children’s website in the world for health information — we provide articles and videos about every aspect of children’s conditions and care. You can even access the KidsHealth content, specific to your child’s diagnosis and treatment, right in your child’s electronic health record.
Through KidsHealth’s special partnership with the GetWellNetwork, we also provide a series of programs that you can watch on a screen in your child’s room (or at home using a special code given to you by a care team member) so that you can learn all about your child’s condition, treatments, tests, side effects, coping, clinical trials, etc. Through our patient story videos, you can also “meet” other children and families who are dealing with a cancer or blood disorder diagnosis — and may offer some encouragement and hope when you need it.
Top-Notch, Award-Winning Care
At the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (NCCBD), we’re honored to be one of only two pediatric National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Programs (NCORP) in the country. NCORP brings together our integrated pediatric cancer network of Nemours sites as well as our cancer investigators.
It’s the sum of our parts that makes NCCBD a comprehensive whole. But each of our locations offers high-quality care and leading-edge facilities in its own right:
- U.S. News & World Report ranks us, year after year, among the nation’s best for pediatric oncology.
- Leapfrog “Top Children’s Hospital” (2012) — This is a recognition for patient safety and quality from The Leapfrog Group, which selected duPont Hospital for Children and only 11 other hospitals in 2012 out of nearly 1,200 participating hospitals nationwide.
- Best Doctors in America® consistently names many of our physicians to its annual list.
- Magnet status for nursing excellence — We’ve earned the nation’s highest nursing credential (which means we attract and keep the best and the brightest nurses). Our pediatric oncology and hematology nurses have also been recognized by state, regional and national professional organizations for their nursing excellence.
- High patient and family satisfaction ratings — We’re in the 93rd percentile for satisfaction with overall care compared to other children’s hospitals nationwide.
- Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) designation — This means we’ve met or exceeded the most rigorous standards in every aspect of stem cell (blood and bone marrow transplant) therapy, from patient care to laboratory practices.
- Leapfrog “Top Children’s Hospital” (2016) — This is a recognition for patient safety and quality from The Leapfrog Group, which selected Nemours Children’s Hospital and only eight other hospitals across the country.
- Best Doctors in America® names many of our physicians to its list, year after year.
- The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval® — We earned this accreditation by demonstrating compliance with national standards for health care quality and safety.
- The Lantern Award — The Emergency Nurses Association honored the Nemours Children’s Hospital’s kids-only Emergency Department with its prestigious Lantern Award, which recognizes our commitment to quality and safety along with a healthy work environment to provide exceptional emergency care for children. Participates in the largest number of clinical trials in the region
- Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer — We’re one of only two pediatric programs in the nation to earn the distinction, and the only program, adult or pediatric, in Florida to receive the award.
- Best Doctors in America® names many of our physicians to its list, year after year.
- Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) designation — Our Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program pools the expertise of three prestigious medical fixtures in Northeast Florida: Mayo Clinic, Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital. For more than 10 years, our collaborative program has been recognized and accredited by FACT as one of only 14 institutions in the United States performing autologous transplants (using your child’s own cells) and allogeneic transplants (cells donated by a parent, sibling or an unrelated donor).
- Magnet status for nursing excellence — We’ve earned the nation’s highest nursing credential, meaning that we attract and keep the best and the brightest nurses.
- Partner with the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute — This is the only facility of its kind in the southeastern United States, founded to treat cancer patients with less destructive radiation therapy — proton energy instead of X-ray radiation.
- Best Doctors in America® names many of our physicians to its list, year after year.
- Long-standing cancer and blood disorder expertise — The Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology in Pensacola first began enrolling patients in Pediatric Oncology Group (POG) studies in 1983 and has been enrolling patients in Children’s Oncology Group (COG) studies since its inception in 2000.
In the Words of Our Families
Your thoughts and feedback about your family's experience with Nemours are key to helping us continue to improve our care. Here are some of the personal testimonials we’ve received from parents like you.
Feedback From Cancer Patients and Families
"Would not refer anyone with a childhood cancer to any other place — Nemours and the oncology doctors are the best!"
"I've never had a bad experience here and we've been coming here for 5 years! Everyone is amazing, and our oncologist and her staff helped us get through our daughter's cancer journey. They are very special people! I always recommend Nemours and our doctor to everyone I know. I pray they don't need to use her, but if they need a cancer doctor, she is absolutely outstanding, understanding, encouraging, and a blessing!"
"Excellent oncology doctor would not want to be anywhere else. Doctors, nurses, and staff are all wonderful!"
"We love Nemours in Jacksonville. They helped to save our lives!"
"My experience at [Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children] was great; all the staff made my son's hospitalization a unique experience. I can't thank them enough. Keep up the good work."
"The therapist is wonderful and very accommodating with scheduling. My son looks forward to seeing her weekly."
"They took care of my son like he was their own, couldn't ask for a better team."
"Our daughter is known by the staff members since she is a five-year patient. Now on a 6-month checkup schedule, they greet her with warmth and enthusiasm commenting on how she's grown and how beautiful she looks, like she has truly been missed. It is a wonderful welcome for her because she can be shy, and it replaces the memories of awful times there with happy ones."
"Our Nemours oncologist and his staff is one of the main reasons my son is alive today. I have complete faith in them and owe them a debt that cannot be repaid."
Feedback From Blood Disorder Patients and Families
"I would recommend this doctor to anyone who has a child suffering from a blood disease."
"While we were in the hospital, the staff was very diligent in keeping the parents updated on any new test results. We love our hematologist!"
"I was extremely impressed with our doctor! This was our first visit with her, and she went out of her way to explain in detail my son's condition and was interested in finding the cause of his low platelet count. She was professional, yet extremely concerned and very caring."
"When my son's condition first began, we were sent to [another hospital]. The doctors and nurses there were so cold and uncaring that we requested he be transferred to Nemours for care and treatment. The doctors and nurses in the hematology department at Nemours are wonderful! I can't say enough good things about them!"
"Your practice has done an outstanding job of catering to needs of sick children. You are able to take what could be a dreadful experience and make it as pleasant as possible. Thank you so much for the care my child receives."
"Your staff helped us through the worst year of our lives! We will tell everyone we know how great you are to your little patients and their parents! We love Nemours!"
"Even though my daughter has not been diagnosed, our doctor is very thorough and continues to investigate with other hematologists."
"We know we are in good hands. Thank you, [Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children], for giving us hope again!"
Inspiring Stories of Our Patients
Sometimes the best support and peace of mind comes from fellow families who’ve been there. Read these uplifting stories about our Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders patients and families who understand what it's like. Share these with your child and your whole family to help them understand what to expect — and to know you’re not alone.
- Addison: Ph-Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
- Alexis: Brain Tumor (Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma)
- Ayla: Neuroblastoma
- Colin: Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- Eilish: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Gabriel: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Griffin: Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia
- Kaley: Leukemia
- Lauren: Hepatoblastoma
- Lenny: Leukemia
- Mason: Malignant Infantile Osteopetrosis
- Natalia: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Savannah: Wills Tumor
- Tatum: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Patient Story Videos: Cancer
Patient Story Videos: Sickle Cell Disease
Research Publications & Clinical Trials
See how our comprehensive care and research impact the children and families we treat: