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Foreword: 50 Years in Hematology

This foreword was published in December 2008 as part of the special ASH anniversary brochure, 50 Years in Hematology: Research That Revolutionized Patient Care.

The American Society of Hematology turns 50 in 2008, and we look back with pride and awe at the momentous changes in our field during the last half century. The explosive progress in the field of molecular biology has yielded fundamental insights into the origin of human diseases and sparked the development of treatments that have transformed medicine. Nowhere are these changes more prominent than in the field of hematology, which serves as a paradigm for the movement of knowledge from the bench to the bedside. The past 50 years have seen major clinical advances that arose from cutting-edge basic research, including, for example, the development of recombinant growth factors that stimulate blood cell production, blood-forming stem cell transplant techniques, safer and more effective products for transfusion, the discovery of water channels that have spread to the fields of nephrology, neurobiology, gastroenterology, and cancer biology, amongst others, and targeted molecular therapies for hematologic malignancies.

On the occasion of our 50th anniversary, ASH celebrates these achievements by documenting some of the profession's compelling successes in treating hematologic disease. We have by necessity been selective, and these snapshots are only a sampling of the array of clinical breakthroughs in our field during the last five decades. Through these vignettes, we hope to convey the excitement of hematology - the thrill of scientific discovery and the triumph of translating that discovery into improvements in human health. We also celebrate the dedication of generations of physicians and physician-scientists who have powered these advances and who continue to strive to take full advantage of the ever-growing armamentarium of scientific tools to better the care of their patients.

We hope this brochure strengthens your understanding of blood diseases and their treatments and enhances your appreciation for the importance of scientific research. We welcome you to share it with anyone who has an interest in learning more about hematology - patients, students, doctors, and others. For additional copies, please contact [email protected].


Kenneth Kaushansky, MD
ASH President, 2008

Nancy Berliner, MD
ASH President, 2009