(WASHINGTON)-The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will host approximately 20,000 attendees from around the world at its 54th annual meeting and exposition, the preeminent medical meeting for physicians and scientists in hematology, December 8-11, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The primary focus of the ASH annual meeting will be to showcase the latest research and clinical advances in the field, however there is serious concern that funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) may not be adequate to continue to advance scientific discoveries in the field. During the meeting the Society will release data from a survey of all abstract presenters about the importance of NIH funding to their research and their concerns about current and proposed NIH budget cuts.
“The 2012 ASH Annual Meeting provides hematologists with a world-class platform to unveil their latest discoveries. And while this meeting is a time to celebrate the extraordinary advances that have been made, it falls during a time of grave concern within the scientific community over the threat of looming NIH budget cuts that may hinder this important progress,” said ASH President Armand Keating, MD, of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network in Toronto.
Presenters of nearly 4,300 scientific abstracts – representing approximately 984 oral and 3,300 poster presentations – will reveal the latest research in the field during the meeting. These include six of the top-scoring abstracts to be highlighted during the Plenary Scientific Session and six Late-Breaking Abstracts representing studies with novel data of high impact.
An exciting new offering for the 2012 ASH Annual Meeting will be a Special Symposium on Epigenetics in Hematopoiesis, which will focus on the epigenetic paradigms that control gene expression across the hematopoietic cell lineages, the molecular mechanisms by which epigenetic alterations control hematopoietic stem cell function and differentiation, and the effects of gene mutations in hematopoietic malignancies.
Other 2012 ASH Annual Meeting highlights include special symposia, the Education Program, the Scientific Program, and a host of lectures and seminars. The Education Program will offer more than 30 sessions on important areas of clinical progress, including advances in genomic studies of hematologic malignancies, optimizing care for red cell and platelet disorders, and improving access to and outcomes of stem cell transplants. The Scientific Program will feature 17 sessions on the hottest areas of hematology research, including discussions on epigenetics and its role in blood cell development, sequencing of genomes and transcriptomes for clues on disease pathogenesis, RNA splicing in normal and malignant blood cell development, personalized diagnostics in acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplasia, the role of human microbiota in transplantation, and the production of blood cells from other cells, such as stem cells.
Several renowned hematologists will present this year’s Special Lectures. Alan K. Burnett, MD, will provide an important glimpse into current and emerging therapeutic strategies for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) during the 2012 Ham-Wasserman Lecture, “Treatment of AML: Are We Making Progress?” on Saturday, December 8. On Monday, December 10, Timothy J. Ley, MD, will present the E. Donnall Thomas Lecture, “The AML Genome,” in which he will discuss how next-generation DNA sequencing approaches are providing detailed information about the clonal architecture of AML at presentation and its evolution at relapse, and may provide new clues regarding the genetic underpinnings of drug resistance and disease progression. Also on Monday, December 10, Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize recipients Bruce R. Blazar, MD, and Carl H. June, MD, will highlight their achievements in adoptive T-cell therapy research during their lecture, “T-Cell Infusions: A New Tool for Transfusion Medicine That Has Come of Age.” The Presidential Symposium on Tuesday, December 11, will focus on recent advances in regenerative medicine, featuring Gordon Keller, PhD; David T. Scadden, MD; and Michele De Luca, MD.
The Society will honor several hematologists with individual awards for their achievements during the 2012 meeting. On Friday, December 7, ASH will recognize Samuel Silver, MD, PhD, with the Exemplary Service Award for his leadership in advancing the practice and physician reimbursement priorities of the Society. On Sunday, December 9, ASH will honor James N. George, MD, with the Society’s highest award, the Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology, for his hallmark discoveries in idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), his leadership in assembling ASH’s first evidence-based Clinical Practice Guideline and helping to establish the ASH Clinical Research Training Institute, and his steadfast dedication to training and mentoring several generations of leaders in the field. ASH will also recognize Beverly S. Mitchell, MD, and Rainer F. Storb, MD, with Mentor Awards on Sunday for their sustained commitment to the training and career development of junior hematologists. On Tuesday, December 11, ASH will present Margaret A. Goodell, PhD, with the Dameshek Prize for her leadership and notable discoveries in stem cell biology. Also on Tuesday, David Ginsburg, MD, and Richard Aster, MD, will receive the Henry M. Stratton Medal for Basic Science (Ginsburg) and Clinical/Translational Research (Aster) for their significant contributions in the fields of thrombosis and blood cell immunology.
“I am confident that these scientific presentations, coupled with the diverse offering of educational and professional development opportunities at the Society’s 54th Annual Meeting, will leave attendees inspired to use their new knowledge to further advance the field in 2013,” said Dr. Keating
For the complete annual meeting program and abstracts, visit http://www.hematology.org/2012abstracts. Up-to-the-minute meeting information can also be found at ASH’s Twitter and Facebook pages, or by following the annual meeting conversation at #ASH12.
Reporter inquiries may be directed to Andrea Slesinski, ASH Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-552-4927.
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. The official journal of ASH is Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online
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