USF Health and TGH join forces to help children battling cancer

TAMPA - Shannon Wise is at Tampa General Hospital for a maintenance chemo treatment. She's in remission from leukemia.  Thanks, she says, to Dr. Cameron Tebbi.  "He actually got rid of my cancer with two or three treatments. My first bone marrow biopsy he did after the treatment started, it was clean."

Tebbi is part of a new team with USF health in conjunction with Tampa General Hospital focusing on pediatric cancer and oncology. Dr. Patricia Emmanuel heads up USF's Pediatric program and says their program is unique because, "We are part of an academic medical center, so we bring students, we bring residents, we bring researchers. We have basic science labs behind us both at the university as well as here."

In fact, Dr. Tebbi is researching and working on a screening and possible vaccine for leukemia in this lab on the USF campus.

Another hope for the program's future -- a school for cancer patients only.  Shriner's Hospital on the USF campus is a site being looked at.

Dr. Emmanuel said, "I think that's a wonderful vision of some of our strong supporters and collaborators.  We already have schools at our hospitals, and those are very important.  But our kids with cancer do have some additional needs. Some are home bound and need to have some extra care. Especially during times like now, we are in the middle of flu season and its scary to send your child who has cancer to school."

For 19-year-old Shannon, having a pediatric cancer program so close to home means less travel for treatments. "It's definitely nice."

Research like Dr. Tebbi's takes money - and the proceeds from a magic cure benefit being held at the Tampa Theatre on Thursday night will go towards Dr. Tebbi's research.  Illusionist Reynold Alexander will perform. 

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