Iris Isufi, MD, is a hematologist who specializes in treating patients with lymphoma, multiple lymphoma, and leukemia. Dr. Isufi provides care through treatments involving cellular therapy, which include CAR T-cell therapy and stem cell transplants. She is co-director of the CAR T-Cell Therapy Program for adults.
“Cell therapies like CAR T-cell therapy are promising for diseases that haven’t responded to multiple types of treatment,” Dr. Isufi says. “It’s a recent development, but one that students in medical school are already learning about, and that’s very exciting.”
The potential benefit of CAR T-cell therapy matters especially to Dr. Isufi, who grew up in Albania and sometimes accompanied her mother, a physician, on rounds at the hospital. “I saw challenges they [the doctors] were facing in trying to help people. Their determination inspired me when I was young to become a physician,” Dr. Isufi says.
As she visits her cancer patients today, Dr. Isufi spends time getting to know each one so that she can provide reassurance for each person’s unique situation. “I tell them we are in this together and that I’ll do my best to help them get through it all—beginning to end,” she says. Dr. Isufi continues to check in on patients who have been in remission for many years after receiving their treatment.
“My patients are very grateful, brave, and courageous, and this inspires me,” she says.
Dr. Isufi is an assistant professor of hematology at Yale School of Medicine, where she also runs clinical trials in patients with lymphoma.