King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) recognizes excellence in 5 categories: Service to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic Language & Literature, Medicine, and Science, since 1979

Professor James B. Bussel

Winner of the  
KFP Prize for  
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Topic: Minimal Invasive Fetal Management


Nationality: United States of America


Professor James Bussel was born in New York, NY, USA in 1949. He received his B.S. (magna cum laude) from Yale University in 1971 and his medical degree (M.D.) from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1975. He served as an intern in pediatrics for one year (1975-1976) and completed his residency in pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio (1976-1978), returning to New York City to undertake a joint fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he was Chief Fellow in 1980-1981. He is board certified in Pediatrics and in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Professor Bussel’s academic pursuit in pediatrics spans more than three decades, first as instructor, then Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Cornell University College of Medicine in New York. From 2000, he became Professor of Pediatrics in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor of Pediatrics in Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He is also the Director of Platelets Disorders Center at Weill Medical College since 2001. From 1981, Professor Bussel has also taken hospital positions at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases, Lenox Hill Hospital and New York Hospital. He also serves on the Board of Medical Advisors of the Platelet Disorders Support Association.

Professor Bussel is a leading pediatric hematologist and a specialist in thrombocytopenias. He and Professor Richard Berkowitz, a leading specialist in maternal and fetal medicine, conducted a series of pioneering studies on the treatment of infants with alloimmune thrombocytopenia (AIT). This is a platelet incompatibility between the parents that affects the fetus, in which maternal platelet antibodies cross the placenta causing marked reduction in thrombocytes number and functions in the fetus and consequent brain hemorrhage and high prenatal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. Prior to these studies, there were little treatment options available for AIT. For nearly three decades, these two investigators developed, evaluated and advanced trans placental medical therapy consisting of weekly intravenous administration of immunoglobulins. The treatment can be given during the pregnancy to increase platelet count in the fetus, prevent a fetal brain hemorrhage, and allow for a healthy baby to be born whose thrombocytopenia will then disappear within weeks. Bussel and Berkowitz‘s approach has led to a global shift towards less invasive treatment of AIT and has laid the foundations for the current practice in this disease.

Professor Bussel has published around 200 papers and several chapters in hematology books. His contributions have been recognized by several honors, including the Alpha Award of the American Blood Resources Association, in addition to visiting professorships and invited lectureships, in his field of specialization. He was voted several times in the press as one of New York’s best doctors. He is a member of the International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis, Society for Pediatric Research, American Society of Hematology, Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and New York County Medical Society, and former member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Federation of Clinical Research and Society for the Study of Blood. He is also a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Hematology, American Journal of Hematology, American Journal of Perinatal Medicine and Hematology.

Professor James Bruce Bussel, Professor Richard Berkowitz, have been awarded the prize for their study the natural history, optimal diagnostic criteria and management of pregnant women having infants affected with Alloimmune thrombocytopenia. This disease causes intracranial hemorrhage either in-utero or during neonatal period, causing death or substantial disability in 10% of untreated cases.

Professor Bussel has provided expertise in the diagnosis and medical management of these patients through safe administration of intravenous gamma-globulins, while Professor Berkowitz has provided expertise in obstetrical management of these patients. Both professors developed the study protocols, analyzed the data, interpreted the results and wrote the reports for publications. The worldwide ongoing treatment for this disorder is largely based on their work.

More about Awarding this Winner

Weill Cornell Medical College
Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist, Pediatrician in New York, Ny
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