Sidra Medicine to Establish Qatar’s First-Ever Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Program


QF Entity Partners with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

14 May 2024, Doha, QatarSidra Medicine, a QF entity, is proud to announce the upcoming establishment of the first-ever pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) program in Qatar, in partnership with one of the world’s leading pediatric hospitals,  Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Sidra Medicine is the only hospital in Qatar to provide pediatric hematology and oncology care for children and young people with cancer and blood disorders. The hospital sees approximately 70 to 100 cases of childhood cancer cases every year, with leukemia, central nervous system tumors and lymphoma amongst the most common.

HSCT (also referred to as Bone Marrow Transplant – BMT) is often used to treat critically ill patients with cancer, non-malignant blood disorders and metabolic and genetic conditions. The procedure entails replacing a child’s diseased or damaged bone marrow cells with their own healthy stem cells, or that of a donor.

To initiate the launch of the HSCT program at Sidra Medicine, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Sidra Medicine and CHOP’s Cellular Therapy and Transplant Section (CTTS). CHOP’s CTTS will offer Sidra Medicine its HSCT/BMT expertise, provide a robust education plan for the hospital’s clinical staff, and assess patient readiness for HSCT treatment protocols.

Dr. Ahmed Al Hammadi, Acting Chief Medical Officer and Executive Chair of Pediatrics at Sidra Medicine, said: “As a leader in specialist pediatric care in Qatar and the region, Sidra Medicine is proudly working alongside the top international health and research organizations to enhance our expertise in precision medicine. It is truly a milestone that we will be launching Qatar’s first pediatric HSCT program, with a world-class institution like CHOP, to provide our patients with the most advanced and effective treatment options. Taking our renowned multidisciplinary approach, different pediatric specialties will coordinate and work as a single unit to offer holistic and excellent care to our patients.”
The HSCT program at Sidra Medicine is anticipated to open in late 2024. The program will treat patients with various blood diseases and cancers including sickle cell disease, thalassemia, leukemia, lymphoma, solid tumors. In addition, it will be used for the treatment of primary immune deficiencies, metabolic diseases, and certain genetic and autoimmune disorders.


Dr. Ayman Saleh, Division Chief of Hematology and Oncology at Sidra Medicine said: “Our strategic initiative to establish a comprehensive HSCT program will better serve patients in need of advanced life-saving treatment.  The program will be a wonderful expansion of Sidra Medicine’s excellent specialist pediatric care services which are supported by ground-breaking research. In addition to our current multidisciplinary services which also include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the establishment of the new program will mean that children requiring HSCT do not have to travel abroad. I am immensely proud of our continued efforts to raise the bar of care services for our young patients.”

An MoU event to mark the collaboration with Sidra Medicine was held at CHOP in Philadelphia, USA and was attended by H.E. Mohammed Bin Sultan Alkuwari, Consul General of the State of Qatar in New York. The delegation from Sidra Medicine included Dr. Ahmed Al Hammadi, Chief Medical Officer; Prof. Khalid Fakhro, Chief Research Officer; Dr. Chiara Cugno, Director of Advanced Cell Therapy Core and Dr. Dina Schnurman Executive Director of Quality, Patient Experience and Health Informatics.
Speaking at the event, Ruth Frey, Vice President of Global Strategy and Business Development at CHOP, said: “CHOP is dedicated to improving health outcomes for children across the world. We are thrilled about this collaboration and the opportunity to offer CHOP’s BMT expertise to support Sidra Medicine’s launch of the first-ever pediatric BMT program in Qatar.”

CHOP’s BMT program has been serving the needs of pediatric patients since 1976 and is recognized for its quality, service, innovative approaches and excellent patient outcomes. The program has one of the highest volumes of pediatric blood and marrow transplant-eligible patients among BMT providers in the United States of America. CHOP’s CTTS has also played a key role in clinical trials, including all FDA approved therapies that involve the treatment for conditions such as sickle cell disease, beta thalassemia and adrenoleukodystrophy.

The MoU with CHOP will also extend to supporting Sidra Medicine’s genomic research programs for rare pediatric diseases.

Dr. Chiara Cugno, Director of the Advanced Cell Therapy Core at Sidra Medicine said: “With a partner like CHOP on board, we are changing the dynamics of personalized care for our young patients with cancer and other rare diseases, as we will also explore potential clinical research collaborations in cell and gene therapies. Since opening our own GMP facility last year, Sidra Medicine’s path to precision care has been fast tracked as we can quickly scale up the manufacturing of medication or treatment protocols for patients with cancer, blood disorders like thalassemia and sickle cell disease, rare congenital and autoimmune disorders like type 1 diabetes.”

For more details about Sidra Medicine’s Hematology and Oncology services, please visit:

Hematology and Oncology | Sidra Medicine.