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Azra Raza, MD/Univ. of Mass

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    Is anyone familiar with Azra Raza at the Univ. of Mass? Another doctor recommended her highly but I’ve just discovered that the Univ. of Mass is not a Center of Excellence. Does anyone have any knowledge of her exerptise? I am looking for a second opinion–I’ve already been to Hopkins and am considering going to her or to Hutch. Thoughts anyone?


    Azra was at Rush Presbyterian in Chicago. She has headed up many trials for MDS. My doctor has consulted with her and I think that she gave a talk on MDS to the hematologist/oncologist convention he went to.

    My understanding is that she is well respected.


    Hi Simon,
    Dr Raza was at Rush. Prior to that she was at Roswell Park.
    She has extensive experience treating MDS. Was one of the first to use Thalidomide.
    She is very aggressive and tends to market her services more than other docs. At Rush a patient would would come in, get a BMB, CBC and at one time a DNA study. Have an interview with her and depart. She and her staff would study the material they gathered, contact the patient and the patients local doc to set up a treatment/trial. Yhe local docs would then fill out reports that were sent back to her for follow up recommendations. Shw had a very large grant while at Rush. A very large research staff.
    You can probably get much written info by contacting her or a member of her staff to get an idea of her approach to various treatments.
    Hopefully some of her patients at Rush will jump on and relate some personal experiences.
    I had an an appointment scheduled a couple years ago. I cancelled it due to some requirements that were necessary to participate in her program that I disagreed with—in my particular case.
    A phone call should get you plenty of info and material to review.

    John in GR

    I met Dr. Raza at Rush in 2001. She suggested rabbit ATG, but after learning from her staff about the less than sterling results her ATG patients had experienced, I decided to stick w the nutritional/alternative approach. I found it to be frustrating that none of Dr. Raza’s research efforts could be used to explore alternative approaches because of the sources of the funds, although Dr. Raza was supportive of the approaches I was taking.



    Simon, What kind of MDS do you have? Who did you see at Hopkins? Were you not satisfied with what they suggested treatment wise? They certainly were wonderful for me and it is very nice to be treated fairly close to home. Are you looking for treatment or a BMT? I also went to NIH once for evaluation for a trial.Did not have a particularly good experience there. Certainly both the Hutch and Dr. Raza are well known. My local Hemo said he would have sent me to MD Anderson for a second opinion if I decided to pursue trial medications.- again closer. I think the Hutch has the reputation of being the top place in the world for transplants.


    Dr. Raza is great, and is exactly the type of doctor you should be looking for. I only wish we had seen her sooner in my father’s disease.

    We need more support of these types of research centers in order to find valid approaches, not suggestions of nutritional or alternative medicine. Azra studies your (or similar) genetic profiles and drugs against cultures. They can then put that research directly into practice whilst others read about it months later. They are researchers, not witch doctors. The fact is you have a disease which is probably going to kill you in one way or another within 5-10 years or has killed thousands before you. If you do not support trials, or push others into alternative medicine you are both shorting yourself and humanity.

    I am not saying that cures for some cancers cannot be found in the bark of a tree, they can, but you are not going to find it, and in the mean time you cause others to lose real hope they may have with tested drugs.


    My husband was given thalidomide treatment from Dr. Raza at Rush. When trials were announced at UMass, where she is now, he was quite excited and thought she’d have something to offer, which she did. Unfortunately, it would’ve entailed weekly trips and frequent BMBs, and just getting from the airport in Boston to Worcester where UMass is an expensive proposition, let alone the costs of consulting her and the tests she gives. It was highly experimental, and he felt he had other options close to home. There is no doubt she’s dedicated and gifted, and always readily available on her cell phone for patients, and also, she predicted that Revlimid would not work for my husband, and it didn’t. No doubt if she were closer to us (in Chicago, it was easier to get to), and the protocol less onerous, my husband would’ve enrolled again. But she’s too far from us, and the costs too high for an already strained pocketbook. On the other hand, she might be of real help to you. At present, all treatments are merely interventions, not permanent cures, including Raza’s, but she is trying. Good luck!


    I went to U-Mass in consult with Dr. Raza and to check if I would be a candidate for one of her trials. She had me do another another BMB and would not give a final answer until she had seen the results of the BMB and cytogenic study. After seeing the complex chromosome abnormalities that I have, she recomended that I do Vidaza (soon) and the if that worked, she would enrole me in her study of TLK-199 or the gingerol/curcumin study. After another consult with a doc at City of Hope-Duarte, CA I decided to postpone any treatment until I experience some syptoms as long as I have a CBC every 3 to 4 weeks to see if my counts were decreasing. So far they have stayed the same or improved, so I am enjoying the winter skiing in Colorado.

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