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Leading stem cell transplant physician leaves Chicago for Philalphia

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Those of us in the blood cancer world are blessed to have wonderful physicians who help patients beat lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma on a daily basis and who travel at great speed on the super highway to curing cancer. One of these gifted physicians is Dr. Henry Fung.

For the past nine years, Chicago area patients have had a champion in their corner. As Coleman Foundation Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Section of Bone Marrow Transplant and Cell Therapy at Rush University Medical Center, Dr. Fung has earned the love and respect of his patients while they endure what no person should be required to endure – a stem cell transplant. Often patients are required to undergo high dose chemotherapy as part of the process that actually begins by killing their existing (but defective) immune systems. Developments in this live-saving treatment have been remarkable over the past several years. A stem cell transplant can result in the patient receiving a brand new immune system and a cure for their cancer. When going through this process, patients need a first-rate physician to provide the best treatment available. Patients also need an educator to provide them with accurate information, a friend they trust for guidance, an inspiration to instill meaningful hope, and a smiling face to make them laugh and believe that the sun soon will shine again. Patients often have to turn to many people to fill these roles, but those under the care of Henry Fung just have to call Henry. For patients in Chicago, however, it will now be a long distance call.

After almost 9 years at Rush University Medical Center, Dr. Fung is leaving Rush to head the blood cancer program at Fox Chase Comprehensive Cancer Center in Philadelphia. There is never a good time for a patient to lose their physician. But with the Chicago Bears out of the playoff picture at a time when the Philadelphia Eagles play on, Chicagoans cannot be happy about losing Dr. Fung to the City of Philadelphia. Chicago’s loss definitely is Philadelphia’s gain.

Dr. Fung is best known for his clinical investigations into the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, particularly in connection with the use of stem cell transplantation for these life-threatening hematologic disorders. He is involved in translational and clinical research related to stem cell mobilization and regenerative medicine. He is a member of the American Society of Hematology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Dr. Fung has authored and co-authored over 200 peer reviewed scientific articles and abstracts.

Fortunately, the impact of Dr. Fung will continue to be felt in Chicago as he continues his work for the benefit of blood cancer patients world-wide. “Dr. Fung is a tremendous resource for families impacted by blood cancer,” according to Chicago Blood Cancer Foundation’s CEO Charlene McMann. “Whenever we have called upon Dr. Fung to help a patient, to speak at an educational event, to raise awareness with a television or radio appearance, or to provide advice on a treatment or research project, Henry always has been there. Whenever there is an event to raise money or awareness for blood cancer research we can count on Henry. Patients always feel better after speaking with Henry. We congratulate Dr. Fung on this well-deserved opportunity and are pleased that he will continue to serve on Chicago Blood Cancer Foundation’s Medical Advisory Council.”

Always humble, Dr. Fung expressed thanks to his patients and colleagues at Rush, particularly to his mentor Dr. Stephanie Gregory, who he calls “an amazing world leader in hematology.” Fortunately, patients at Rush will continue to receive excellent treatment at Rush through Dr. Fung’s protégé Dr. Sunita Nathan.

Dr. Fung’s medical career has taken him from Hong Kong, to British Columbia, to California, to Illinois, and now will take him to Pennsylvania. Your Cancer Examiner hopes that Dr. Fung’s next stop will be a return trip to Chicago in a position that will provide him with a greater platform to help people impacted by blood cancer. Henry Fung may be leaving Chicago, but he has had a profound effect on the lives of many patients and families impacted by blood cancer. Our best wishes to Henry, his lovely wife, and his daughter for the New Year. To all of our readers, here’s to a happy and healthy 2014!

The accompanying video is Part I of Dr. Fung's appearance on the Battling and Beating Cancer Television Show in which he discusses the role of stem cell transplantation. Here is a link to Part II of Dr. Fung's appearance.

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