Expanding patient care and access to surgical interventions through clinical research and global healthcare advocacy work
Surgery is an often-critical aspect in the treatment of many forms of pediatric cancer, and my work strives to accelerate progress in childhood cancer care through precision surgery research. I concentrate on research that enhances tumor removal by using minimally invasive procedures or innovative imaging techniques. In addition to my clinical care responsibilities and research program, I aim to improve global access to quality pediatric onco-surgery.
For many pediatric solid tumors, complete resection of the primary site and metastatic deposits is critical for improved outcomes. As a pediatric cancer surgeon, my current translational research has two primary goals. The first goal is to enhance the ability to surgically resect tumors through innovative and minimally invasive approaches, whereas the second explores ways advanced imaging techniques can view a tumor’s margins. The ability to adequately view tumor margins aids in the precise removal of as much tumor as possible. Both goals strive to improve care that advance patient outcomes.
To this end, I serve as the Principal Investigator (PI) on two intervention clinical trials. One clinical trial, called ICGLOW, focuses on the utility of fluorescence-guided tumor resection and margin identification using a safe agent called indocyanine green (ICG).
I am also the PI of VISCERALX, a clinical trial that examines the feasibility of visceral solid tumors fluorescence-guided lymph node mapping. Like the ICGLOW study, the VISCERALX trial also involves the use of ICG, which is injected around the tumor to see how it drains through the lymphatic system.
Another aspect of my research examines healthcare inequities, challenges the underlying causes of these inequities, and designs interventions to address them. I have particular interest in studying and promoting effective interventions to address highly prevalent and actionable non-biologic factors. In my role as Director of the Global Surgery Program at St. Jude, I lead efforts to advance onco-surgical education and training in limited-resource settings.
This highly collaborative work has led to the development of a tool to assess and promote improvement strategies in pediatric surgical oncology facilities, evidence-based adapted guidelines for childhood cancer management, and pediatric surgical oncology curriculum development and implementation in low- and middle-income countries.
The combination of my clinical and research efforts directly impacts patient care and outcomes for children with childhood cancer around the globe.
Dr. Abdelhafeez H. Abdelhafeez is a clinician scientist at St. Jude who conducts translational research as an Assistant Member in the Department of Surgery. He earned his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from University of Khartoum and conducted surgery fellowships in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in the United States. Dr. Abdelhafeez’s extensive global medical training and experience lend to his robust practice in the clinical and research realms as well as his efforts to advance quality care globally.
Abdelhafeez H. Abdelhafeez
Department of Surgery
MS 133, Room IA2305
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital