Dr. Jamie Frediani joins Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s

A pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. Jamie Frediani has joined the growing team of innovative specialists at the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s.  Dr. Frediani looks forward to advancing CHOC’s leukemia and lymphoma programs, as well as the adolescent and young adult cancer program.

“The Hyundai Cancer Institute is experiencing an exciting time of immense growth, including creating new ways of delivering exceptional patient care, developing new treatments, expanding patient outreach and education, and enriching existing treatment teams,” says Dr. Frediani. “I am thrilled to be a part of this growth, and honored to join such a supportive team of experts.”

Pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. Jamie Frediani has joined the growing team of innovative specialists at the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s.

After graduating with high honors from University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, Dr. Frediani completed medical school at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  Her residency and fellowship training were done at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), respectively.  Throughout her education and training, she assumed numerous leadership roles.  Most recently, she was chief fellow in the department of hematology/oncology at CHLA.  Aside from focusing on delivering excellent, family-centered care, Dr. Frediani would like to enhance the educational curriculum for medical students, residents and fellows, focusing on interactive and case-based learning experiences.

Dr. Frediani’s previous research includes examining the impact of the timing of central line placement in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on infection and thrombosis rates; studying perioperative complications in patients with high-risk vascular malformations who underwent surgical or interventional radiology procedures around the site of their lesions; investigating the incidence and clinical course of varicella and herpes zoster in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the pre and post-vaccination era; and studying the outcome of empiric treatment with cefepime versus ceftazidime in pediatric oncology patients with febrile neutropenia.  The latter two studies were conducted in partnership with clinicians at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Her fellowship research in the laboratory of Dr. Muller Fabbri focused on exosomal communication between endothelial cells and cancer cells, leading to miRNA-mediated increased migration of the cancer cells. In addition to numerous abstracts, Dr. Frediani has published in Molecular Cancer, Archives of disease in childhood and Pediatric blood and cancer.

When not caring for patients, she enjoys trips to Disneyland, hiking, and reading, particularly science fiction/fantasy novels. She loves to travel, exploring the world and other cultures.

CHOC Children’s Names New Orthopaedic Institute Director

Bringing a wealth of clinical and administrative knowledge and experience, Dr. Lucy Morizio has been named director of the CHOC Children’s Orthopaedic Institute.

Dr. Lucy Morizio is director of the CHOC Children's Orthopaedic Institute

In her new administrative leadership role, Dr. Morizio will partner with CHOC leadership to accomplish the Orthopaedic Institute’s strategic and operational goals, including developing the institute as a destination location for pediatric orthopedic services. She begins her new duties Oct. 22.

“I am excited to collaborate with clinicians, employees and executive leadership at CHOC Children’s to help grow its orthopedic services,” Dr. Morizio said. “My goal is to build upon the Orthopeadic Institute’s already top-notch care and outcomes to further enhance and improve how we serve children in Orange County and beyond.”

The Orthopaedic Institute consistently ranks among the Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for orthopedics.

Dr. Morizio joined CHOC in 2016 as part of its population health efforts, first serving as a quality improvement specialist and later becoming manager of population health-quality.

Previously, Dr. Morizio had a private practice while working with the California’s Newborn Screening Program for 16 years.

Dr. Morizio graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from UC Irvine and earned a doctorate in podiatric medicine from Samuel Merritt University. She completed her surgical residency in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

CHOC cardiologist implants smallest pacemaker in pediatric patient

A CHOC Children’s Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. Anthony McCanta reached a major milestone in pediatric cardiac care when he joined an elite group of physicians in the world who have implanted the Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS). Dr. McCanta’s 12-year-old patient, who has Tetralogy of Fallot, is the smallest and youngest patient – quite possibly the only child – to receive the device.

Micra TPS

About the size of a vitamin, Micra TPS, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration just last year, provides the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker.  Unlike traditional pacemakers, the device does not require cardiac leads or a surgical “pocket” under the skin to deliver the pacing therapy.  Instead, the device is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart.  This offers patients a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers without the complications associated with leads — all while being cosmetically invisible. “The Heart Institute offers many innovative therapies to treat children and young adults with heart rhythm abnormalities.  We are thrilled to now offer the Micra TPS,” says Dr. McCanta.

A former CHOC resident and pediatric cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Omaha, Dr. Vincent Thomas praises his former colleague for his role in advancing care. “Having trained and worked with Dr. McCanta, it is no surprise to me that he is breaking new ground and striving for excellence,” he says. “Having access to this type of innovation benefits patients and families by providing creative solutions to challenging problems.”

Dr. Anthony McCanta, CHOC Children’s Cardiologist

The Micra TPS is designed to automatically adjust pacing therapy based on a patient’s activity level.  It also incorporates a retrieval feature, though the device is designed to be left in the body.  If a patient needs more than one heart device, the Micra TPS can be permanently turned off.  A new device can then be implanted without the risk of electrical interactions.

“The miniaturized, leadless pacemaker is an option for patients with structurally normal hearts and with congenital heart disease,” explains Dr. McCanta.  Not every patient is eligible; those with complex pacing needs require a more complex pacing system.  But, we would be happy to evaluate patients with pacemaker indications to determine if they could benefit from this new therapy.”

To schedule a consultation with Dr. McCanta, call 888-770-2462.

CHOC Children’s to host educational dinner about infantile spasms

Health care providers and family members are invited to learn about infantile spasms at an educational dinner hosted by CHOC Children’s on Oct. 25, 2016, at 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., on CHOC’s Orange campus (Harold Wade Education Center, 1201 W. La Veta Ave.)

Undiagnosed infantile spasms can develop into intractable epilepsy, a very common, but debilitating disorder. Each year, 150,000 children and adolescents in the country will have a single, unprovoked seizure, and 33 to 45 percent of these children will develop epilepsy. Infantile spasms are easy to miss for a pediatrician, as they can mimic common symptoms and conditions, such as sleep disturbances, gastroesophageal reflux, startle and shuddering attacks.

The onset for infantile spasm is usually between 4 to 8 months of life, and is characterized by clusters of flexion or extension of upper and lower extremities, occurring for five to 10 seconds every 10 to 20 minutes. Early recognition of this and other epilepsy syndromes is of critical importance in determining a treatment plan. The consequences of intractable epilepsy are multiple and can be very detrimental – including psychosocial and academic effects.

There is a four to six-week window of opportunity to treat infantile spasms most successfully. If infantile spasms are suspected, an urgent appointment with a board certified pediatric neurologist is recommended.

Evening Agenda

Following arrival and dinner, from 6-6:30 p.m., the following schedule is planned for the evening:

6:30-6:45 p.m.           Introduction and case presentation

6:45-7 p.m.                 What are infantile spasms and why the urgency to treat?

7-7:20 p.m.                 Treatment and management

7:20-7:40 p.m.           Latest research

7:40-8 p.m.                 Real stories from the O.C.

8-8:30 p.m.                 Q & A

Expected outcomes for attendees include:  recognizing the presentation of infantile spasms; knowing how to promptly and appropriately refer to a pediatric neurologist; and recalling current research endeavors about infantile spasms.

To register, visit https://infantilespasms.eventgrid.com/.

CHOC at forefront of treating Batten disease

Bringing new hope to patients and their families, CHOC Children’s is now among a few hospitals in the country to offer treatment for a rare genetic brain condition that has previously been considered a death sentence for children.

CHOC has been fast tracked to commercially provide Brineura, the first and only treatment for CLN2 disease, also known as late infantile Batten disease. The condition typically begins with language delays and seizures before age 3, and rapidly progresses to dementia, blindness, loss of the ability to walk and talk, and death in childhood.

Bringing Brineura to CHOC is the product of three years of work by metabolic specialist Dr. Raymond Wang.

Dr. Raymond Wang, who treats patients with Batten disease, stands in lab looking over papers
Dr. Raymond Wang, CHOC metabolic specialist

“This is huge,” Dr. Wang says. “You’re taking a progressive and fatal disease and stopping it. Having seen how heartbreaking it is for families to see the child they know get slowly robbed from them, the fact that we can offer these families hope, is tremendous. Something like this is the very reason I went into medicine and specialized in metabolic disorders: to provide hope to families affected by rare disorders such as late infantile Batten disease.”

Dr. Wang works closely with CHOC neurosurgeon Dr. Joffre Olaya to administer the medicine. Each patient has an Ommaya reservoir implanted under their scalp, which allows the medicine to be infused directly into their brains.

In a sterile procedure every two weeks, Dr. Olaya and a team of highly trained nurses insert a needle into the reservoir to administer the medication. The infusion lasts four hours, and after four hours of observation, the patients can go home.

While not a cure, the drug can slow the progression of the disease. Over a three-year period, patients treated during clinical trials showed no progression of the disease, which was radically different from the disorder’s natural course. The medication improves quality of life and buys patients critical time as researchers continue to search for a cure.

Having the treatment available close to home is a game changer for the Bowman family.  A participant in the clinical trial, Ely Bowman, 4, would travel every 10 days with his parents from Orange County to Columbus, Ohio, for treatment.

But now, the Bowmans need only to drive a few miles to CHOC for this critical treatment.

“For Ely to be home and have consistency and we can still have some fun is wonderful,” his mother, Bekah, says. “We can see him thriving.”

Learn more about CHOC’s metabolic disorders division and the CHOC Children’s Neuroscience Institute.

Refer a patient for a metabolic disorder evaluation.