ACCO Mourns the Death of Dr. Robert Arceci, Childhood Cancer Warrior
It is with the deepest sadness, grief, and disbelief that the American Childhood Cancer Organization learned on Monday of the unexpected passing of one of childhood cancer’s greatest, most valued warriors: Dr. Robert Arceci, Director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Hematology and Oncology at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona. Dr. Arceci was well-known to both the medical community and the close-knit childhood cancer community for his passionate and wholehearted dedication to the fight against childhood cancer in all its forms. As Co-Director of PCH’s Institute of Molecular Medicine, Dr. Arceci was in the midst of conducting ground-breaking research into new and innovative treatment options for childhood cancer with the ultimate goal of developing personalized treatment options. In his own words, he hoped this research would one day, “improve outcomes…and acquire that dream of really getting rid of this darn disease.”
Yet for many, many families who have faced or who are facing the difficult journey through childhood cancer, Dr. Arceci will be missed primarily for his devotion to the children themselves. Despite his dedication to research and teaching, he remained intimately involved in the treatments of children battling childhood cancer, and always made himself available for consultations and second opinions to families across the country. In the words of Ruth Hoffman, ACCO’s Executive Director, “Dr. Arceci…was always available to give his time and expertise to families no matter where he was or how busy he was. He provided second opinions to so many ACCO families over the years, giving hope when it seemed there was none.” And ultimately, he himself noted that he personally felt the loss of every single child he treated, but could not save.
Dr. Arceci’s current research at the Institute of Molecular Medicine is focused on developing new and innovative therapeutic targets and immunotherapies designed to improve treatment outcomes while reducing the negative, long-term side effects that are the all-too-common result of today’s available treatments. His research teams at PCH include multidisciplinary investigators focused on developing scientifically robust, molecularly-based, and ultimately individualized, treatment options for leukemia and other childhood cancers. In addition to his role at PCH, Dr. Arceci also served as a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine. Before coming to Phoenix, Dr. Arceci was Director and King Fahd Professor of Pediatric Oncology and Professor of Oncology and Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and prior to that was Director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. He received his MD from the University of Rochester, and completed his residencies and fellowships in pediatric hematology/ oncology at The Children’s Hospital, Boston and Harvard Medical School.
The ACCO would like to express its sincere condolences to Dr. Arceci’s family, friends, and colleagues in this difficult time, as well as to the entire childhood cancer community while it mourns this passing of this great man and childhood cancer warrior. In the words of Ms. Hoffman, “He will be terribly missed!”