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Omar S. Aljitawi, M.B.B.S.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Appointment: (585) 275-5823

Office: (585) 275-5823

Fax: (585) 273-1051

URMFGA member of the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group

groupAn Accountable Health Partner

assignmentAccepting New Patients

Research Labs

The Hematology and Transplantation Lab

Visit The Hematology and Transplantation Lab Lab Website

Faculty Appointments

Patient Care Setting



I am committed to providing my patients complete medical care that takes into account their physical and emotional wellbeing. When I approach my patients, I think of them as a whole, a person behind the story. I enjoy and cherish this special relationship and I always strive to give my patients the best care.

I believe that knowledge is power; I want my patients to be informed when they make decisions that involve their care and their lives. I achieve that by discussing the patient's case with the patient's referring oncologist and by consulting with my colleagues at Wilmot Cancer Center or at other institutions.

I am a firm believer that physician-patient trust is important to deliver effective and complete medical care. This trust develops based on the patient's own experience dealing with their medical team. My goal is to work closely with our medical team to help our patients deal with their illnesses.

My goal in choosing a career in treating cancer patients is to "make a difference" in their lives. I do that not only by doing my best to take care of my patients, but also by researching new ways to help our patients. Our current treatments are not optimal and certainly can be improved to help our patients have better outcomes, which is my ultimate goal in my research career.


Dr. Aljitawi's laboratory is primarily focused on studying the human hematopoietic stem cells and their interaction with their microenvironment. He utilizes this knowledge in studying translational research concepts that apply to patient care. Dr. Aljitawi's work has involved umbilical cord blood stem cells, Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stromal cells, Wharton's jelly matrix, and bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. Dr. Aljitawi's main projects are:

1.Studying umbilical cord blood (UCB) CD34+ cell interaction with erythropoietin (EPO) as a soluble factor in UCB CD34+ microenvironment. Dr. Aljitawi has been investigating EPO signaling through EPO receptor (EPOR) effects on UCB CD34+ cell homing and engraftment. Dr. Aljitawi and his research team discovered that exposure to erythropoietin impairs UCB CD34+ cell homing to the bone marrow. To translate this finding to patient care, Dr. Aljitawi and his research team investigated the use of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) as a modality to lower systemic EPO with the aim of improving UCB CD34+ cell homing and engraftment. This work in its entirety was recently published in Blood.

2. Developing in vitro 3D leukemia and myeloma models for chemotherapy drug testing: Dr. Aljitawi's lab has developed a 3D stromal-based co-culture model to grow leukemia and myeloma cells with stromal cells and used it to test the sensitivity of these cancer cells to chemotherapy. More recently, his lab has focused on studying decellularized Wharton's jelly matrix to create an extracellular matrix-based model to test leukemia cell responses to chemotherapy.

3. Studying the interactions between Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stromal cells and Wharton's jelly decellularized matrix for tissue regenerative medicine applications. Dr. Aljitawi's has been studying decellularized Wharton's jelly matrix as a scaffolding material for tissue regenerative applications, including wound and bone healing.




    MBBS | University of Jordan (Jordan)

    Post-doctoral Training & Residency

    07/01/2007 - 06/30/2008
    Fellowship in Blood & Marrow Transplantation at City of Hope National Medical Center

    07/01/2004 - 06/03/2007
    Fellowship in Hematology & Oncology at University of Kansas Medical Center-Kansas City

    07/01/2002 - 06/30/2004
    Residency in Internal Medicine at East Tennessee State University College of Medicine

    07/01/2001 - 06/30/2002
    Internship in Internal Medicine at East Tennessee State University College of Medicine

    01/01/1999 - 12/31/2000
    Internship in Internal Medicine at Bashir Hospital (Jordan)

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    Faculty Travel Award to present Abstract Poster
    Sponsor: 12th International Cord Blood Symposium

    Faculty Travel Award to Present Abstract
    Sponsor: American Society of Oncology

    2010 Best Abstract Award
    Sponsor: 2011 BMT Tandem Meetings

    Karl & Irene Eisemann Fellowship Award for best Hematology Paper

    Caduceus Award Nominee
    Sponsor: ETSU Students
    Location: East Tennessee State University

    First Place Award, residents/fellows division, 18th Annual Student Research Forum, James H. Quillen College of Medicine
    Location: East Tennessee State University

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    Clinical Trials

    A multicenter access and distribution protocol for unlicensed cryopreserved cord blood units (CBUs) for transplantation in pediatric and adult patients with hematologic malignancies and other indications (NMDP 10-CBA)

    Lead Researcher: Omar S Aljitawi

    This study is an access and distribution protocol for unlicensed cryopreserved cord blood units (CBUs) in pediatric and adult patients with hematologic malignancies and other indications.

    View Study Details

    A Pilot Study to Determine the Safety and Efficacy of Repeated Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Multiple Myeloma Patients Undergoing High-Dose Therapy and Autologous Stem/Progenitor Transplantation

    Lead Researcher: Omar S Aljitawi

    Subjects with multiple myeloma (MM) who are considered eligible for high-dose therapy and autologous stem cell transplantation by the transplant team at WCI will be enrolled in the study.

    View Study Details

    Phase II Hyperbaric Oxygen in Improving Engraftment in Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplantation

    Lead Researcher: Omar S Aljitawi

    The UCB transplant is a type of stem cell transplant used to treat cancer of the blood or lymph glands. The UCB transplant has advantages over other types of transplants such as ease of obtaining the umbilical cord blood, absence of donor risks, reduced risks of contagious infections, and the availability for immediate use. The UCB transplant is also associated with a lower incidence of graft versus host disease, or GvHD (in GvHD, the transplanted graft attacks the recipient organs).

    View Study Details

    Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation from Unrelated Donors

    Lead Researcher: Omar S Aljitawi

    This study is a single-center, treatment protocol with 4 possible preparative regimens, designed to validate the process of umbilical cord blood stem cell transplantation at our institution.

    View Study Details


    Journal Articles

    Bawany F, Tbakhi B, Mendler JH, Richardson CT, Bennett JM, Aljitawi OS. "Remission of anti-TIF1? dermatomyositis after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant for myelodysplastic syndrome." Blood advances.. 2020 Nov 24; 4(22):5698-5701.

    Tbakhi B, Furqan F, Scott G, Liesveld JL, Aljitawi OS. "Autologous Stem Cell Rescue recipient with neutrophil tissue delivery detected prior to blood engraftment: a case report." EJHaem.. 2020 Jul; 1(1):330-333. Epub 2020 Aug 07.

    Elad S, Aljitawi O, Zadik Y. "Oral graft-versus-host disease: a pictorial review and a guide for dental practitioners." International dental journal.. 2020 Jun 28; Epub 2020 Jun 28.

    Books & Chapters

    Chapter Title: Wharton's jelly matrix decellularization for tissue engineering applications
    Book Title: Decellularized Scaffolds and Organogenesis
    Author List: Converse, G.L; Li, D; E. Buse, E.E.; Hopkins, R.A.; and Aljitawi, O.S.
    Published By: Springer Protocols 2017

    Chapter Title: The human Mast Cell
    Book Title: Mast Cells, Methods and Protocols
    Author List: Guha Krishnaswamy, Omar Aljitawi, and David S. Chi.
    Published By: Humana Press 2005



    At URMC, we believe that patients should be empowered to make the right decisions regarding their personal healthcare. To do so, transparency is critical. URMC partners with Press Ganey, to survey our patients about all aspects of their care experience. We are now putting this pertinent information at your fingertips by displaying star ratings for our providers along with anonymous patient comments on our website. This will help you make better-informed choices about how and with whom you seek care. Click here to learn more about the surveys used to generate this vital information.