Blending Research and Patient Care

Dr. Indumathy Varadarajan found her calling at a young age. She was very close to her grandmother, who passed away from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when Dr. Varadarajan was a child. From that moment on, she knew that she wanted to find a cure so other families didn't have to face the same loss.

Now a physician-scientist at UVA Cancer Center, Dr. Varadarajan specializes in treating life-threatening blood diseases by combining cellular therapies with advanced stem cell transplant techniques. The results have been incredible. Patients enrolled in her clinical trial have lived longer and experienced a higher quality of life.

This year UVA Cancer Center reached the milestone of completing the center’s 500th stem cell transplant.

“This is very important to us, because it shows the commitment of the whole team, including the nurse coordinators, the hospital’s medical staff team, and the commitment that the patients have shown to us,” says Dr. Varadarajan.

UVA has a long tradition of discovery research that has changed how we care for patients. From using nanotechnology to deliver the first new drug for AML in 30 years directly to cancer cells, to treating breast cancer patients with a single dose of radiation at the time of their surgery, UVA investigators are relentless in their pursuit of answers.

“UVA has this unique combination of providing patients a personalized relationship with their physician and the entire medical care team, and this combines with cutting-edge research,” says Dr. Varadarajan. “I learn a lot from every patient experience, both as a person and as a physician, and I’m not sure how many patients know that when they come to us for treatment they help improve care for the next patient who follows them.”