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Having spent the majority of his 37-year career as a haematologist,

Professor Moosa Patel still sees opportunities that can be advanced by research in the fi eld.

Patel (60) believes research is key to reducing complications during the treatment of serious diseases of the blood. “Research in various aspects of haematology is necessary.

This is with regard to both benign (nonmalignant/non-cancerous) as well as malignant diseases.

Research should be done at all levels, including basic science, clinical and therapeutic research,” he says.

Prof Patel, who is the Academic Head of Clinical Haematology at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand

and the Chief Specialist in Internal Medicine and Haematology at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, says haematology includes both cancers of the blood and benign blood diseases.

“The benign ones, the anaemias, are very common. Most of them are dealt with by general physicians.

The more serious diseases are the cancers of the blood.

These are dealt with by the specialised haematology teams.” Exploring new challenges Holding a degree in medicine from the University of KwaZulu-Natal,

 Prof Patel started off as a general practitioner in 1981 at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

He then worked as a registrar in internal medicine from 1986 to 1988.

Prof Patel then specialised in haematology because, at the time, it offered new challenges for him to explore.

“When I was ready to specialise, there was an opening and opportunity to study haematology, which is a fascinating field that deals with various blood diseases, including blood cancers.

I was also interested to pursue my research on a blood and bone marrow cancer known as multiple myeloma,” he says.

Prof Patel has seen several changes in the medical fi eld during his tenure, ranging from the establishment of the subspeciality of clinical haematology,

improved diagnostic techniques, improved supportive care, new and improved therapies to treat haematological diseases,

ongoing improvements in transplantation, better outcomes and improved survival rates.

“New and improved therapies are now used to treat haematological diseases, including targeted therapy which has signifi cantly improved patient outcomes and has fewer adverse effects.”

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