The longtime director and founder of the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is stepping down. On Tuesday he was honored for his work and a successor was announced.
Dr. Gareth Morgan who is currently a clinician and researcher with the Myeloma UK Research Center at the Institute of Cancer Research in London was named to the position.
Dr. Morgan said he’s excited to lead UAMS’ Myeloma Institute beginning in July, "but most of all, I think it’s an opportunity for patients. We’re curing people now. The task is to cure more patients, and what I think I can bring to the party is new tools that we can build on."
"The infrastructure that Bart has set up really take us to that next level where the percentage of cured patients is more,” Dr. Morgan said.
He is replacing Dr. Bart Barlogie, who founded the center nearly 25 years ago to research and treat multiple myeloma, a rare form of bone marrow cancer.
Although Dr. Barlogie is retiring as director, he said he will continue working in the clinical care.
“I’m committed to be there with Gareth to give my full support to whatever endeavors he’s going to pursue,” Barlogie said.
A myeloma patient, who is also a physician, Dr. Marie Pinizzotto was treated by Barlogie and told the crowd it was a good fit.
“I knew the instant I met Dr. Barlogie that this is where I get my treatment,” Pinizzotto said. “The passion and the compassion and his desire to cure this disease was all I needed to see to know I had made the right decision. As you can see, I’m 6 years out now.”
UAMS Chancellor Dr. Dan Rahn said the institute treats more myeloma patients than any other such cancer center in the world. As a result, he said it brings many people to the city each day.
“There are about 300 individuals with this disease with various members of their family who are staying in Little Rock for diagnosis and treatment at the Myeloma Institute.”
UAMS also announced the Myeloma Institute has received about $20 million in state funding and philanthropic contributions. It was broken down into $5 million from the state's General Improvement Funds, which was matched 3-to-1 by philanthropic contributions.