Hayashi named director of pediatric hematology/oncology division

Robert J. Hayashi, M.D., has been named director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine.

A member of the faculty at the School of Medicine since 1992, Hayashi is an associate professor of pediatrics. In addition, he is director of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which provides both self, related and unrelated bone marrow transplants, and director of the Late Effects Program, which provides comprehensive care for patients experiencing medical, emotional and quality of life difficulties as a result of their cancer therapy.

As director of the division, Hayashi will oversee the cutting-edge treatment of children with pediatric cancers and blood-based diseases, including immunodeficiencies and metabolic and genetic disorders.

“We have a very unique opportunity to make substantive advances in the fields of hematology and oncology, and I am excited to be a part of that process,” Hayashi says. “For instance, we know there are many diseases that can be treated with bone marrow transplants, but they are not treated as such because the risks of the procedure remain high. As we reduce some of the complications related to bone marrow transplant and continue to expand the use of alternative donors, I believe the therapy will be used on a much broader scope.”

Hayashi’s recent research efforts have been focused on understanding the long-term side effects that children experience as a consequence of the therapy they received to treat their cancer. He is the institutional principal investigator of the Childhood Cancer Survivor’s Study (CCSS), a National Cancer Institute-funded project tracking the course of more than 10,000 cancer survivors nationwide to gain greater insight on how cancer therapy affects survivors.

His clinical interests have focused on bone marrow transplantation, particularly graft vs. host disease and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). The Bone Marrow Transplant Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital emphasizes the use of donor transplant in treating malignant and non-malignant diseases. Protocols using a variety of donors including matched unrelated bone marrow and umbilical cord blood are currently being used with the hope of increasing the effectiveness of bone marrow transplant and decreasing its toxicity.

Alan L. Schwartz, Ph.D., M.D., the Harriet B. Spoehrer Professor and head of Pediatrics, has known Hayashi since 1986 when Hayashi was a resident on the hematology-oncology service.

“Bob Hayashi is a superior pediatric hematologist-oncologist,” Schwartz says. “He is a consummate clinician with strong educational, clinical research and administrative skills. He has been an excellent leader of our stem-cell transplant program. In addition Bob has led our fellowship program for many years. One area of his particular interest is long-term cancer survivors and their sequelae. Herein Bob has developed a program and is engaged in both local and national clinical outcome studies. We are delighted that Bob has accepted our invitation to lead the Division of Hematology-Oncology.”

Lee Fetter, president and senior executive officer of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, said Hayashi would be outstanding in this role.

“As director of our Bone Marrow Transplant program, he has facilitated its growth from a very small center to a competitive transplant program,” Fetter says. “Since he has been acting division director, we have acquired a Phase 1 status with the Children’s Oncology Group allowing us access to cutting-edge therapies, thereby eliminating the need to refer families to other institutions for treatment protocols and away from their families.”

Hayashi earned an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in pediatrics at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 1989 and a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1992.

He received the Physician Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health from 1992-1997 and the Child Health Research Center Award in 1992. He is the author of nearly 40 articles in prestigious publications, including the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Washington University School of Medicine’s full-time and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.