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Cynthia Dunbar, M.D.

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Portrait of Cynthia Dunbar.
Cynthia Dunbar, M.D.

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Cynthia Elizabeth Dunbar, M.D., is head of the Laboratory of Molecular Hematopoiesis in the Hematology Branch at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Dunbar came to the NHLBI as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Arthur Neinhuis in 1987, became a principal investigator in 1993, and has been head of the Molecular Hematopoiesis Lab since 2000.

Dr. Dunbar’s research group investigates the mechanisms by which stem cells develop and differentiate into other cell types, particularly in relation to hematopoiesis, which governs the formation of new blood cells. Using cell lines and animal models, her research goal is to gain insight into the factors that control stem cell development. Such insight will aid in manipulating and modifying hematopoietic stem cells for applications in gene therapy, stem cell transplantation and other clinical interventions. Applying the knowledge gained from her stem cell work, Dr. Dunbar also conducts detailed preclinical studies aimed at improving the delivery and effectiveness of gene therapy interventions for blood-related disorders.

Dr. Dunbar earned a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., in 1980 and a Doctor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School in Boston in 1984; she subsequently completed her medical internship and residency at Boston City Hospital, and hematology fellowship training at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Dunbar has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific and review articles, and has given dozens of invited lectures and presentations about her work. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal BLOOD, the flagship publication of the American Society of Hematology.

Areas of expertise: Stem cells and stem cell therapy, gene therapy.

Dr. Dunbar In the News

July 5, 2012 : New England Journal of Medicine
Eltrombopag and Improved Hematopoiesis in Refractory Aplastic Anemia
Co-authored by Matthew J. Olnes, M.D., Ph.D., Phillip Scheinberg, M.D., Ronan Desmond, M.D., Yong Tang, M.D., Ph.D., Bogdan Dumitriu, M.D., Ankur R. Parikh, M.D., Susan Soto, B.S.N., Xingmin Feng, M.D., Ph.D., Neal S. Young, M.D., and Cynthia E. Dunbar, M.D. from the Hematology Branch, and Colin O. Wu, Ph.D. from the Office of Biostatistics Research
Dunbar and colleagues report that the drug Eltrombopag can improve the blood cell counts of some people who have a severe form of aplastic anemia that is unresponsive to standard therapies.

July 4, 2012
NIH Media Availability: Platelet drug shows clinical benefits for severe, unresponsive aplastic anemia
Eltrombopag, a drug that was designed to stimulate production of platelets from the bone marrow and thereby improve blood clotting, can raise blood cell levels in some people with severe aplastic anemia who have failed all standard therapies.

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