The Hematologist

January-February 2019, Volume 16, Issue 1

Here's to the Year's Best

Laura C. Michaelis, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Published on: December 21, 2018

The San Diego Convention Center lights have dimmed, the banners are down, and another of our yearly rituals have wrapped up for the year. For those of you who were able to attend the 2018 Annual Meeting in San Diego, I hope you found it as exciting as I did. I remember crafting my fellowship essay nearly two decades ago, writing that I wanted to enter a field that was on the precipice of change. Cannot even the most cynical of us look at the upward trajectory of care in the diseases we treat without some modicum of awe and excitement? There were nearly 30,000 attendees at last year’s annual meeting, all there to learn from and to some degree celebrate these collective accomplishments.

As the new year starts, The Hematologist is going to toast some of the past year’s advancements — those highlighted at the meeting or published during 2018. This is a tradition started by former Editor-in-Chief Dr. Jason Gotlib, and it has proven to be both popular and helpful to readership. As a team, our editorial board has selected 11 developments from 2018 that we feel represent true movement in our shared quest to improve the lives of patients with hematologic disorders. The selections are varied, including, for example, mechanistically driven therapy for myelodysplastic syndromes, developments in the application of chimeric antigen receptor therapy, and innovative strategies for the treatment of sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia. Perhaps we cannot cover everything, but hopefully this year’s selections will provide an overview of areas where progress has occurred.

So, as befitting the new year, I propose a toast: to all the patients who wanted their experiences to inform and improve the lives of future patients through research; to all the researchers who chose to turn their intellect and creativity to the service of others; to those of you who care for patients and their families; to the systems in which patients receive care; and perhaps most importantly, to the spirit of inspiration. Here’s hoping that it continues to animate our community as we move forward in the face of all that we still need to tackle.

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