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Programs

General Sessions

ASH-EHA Joint Symposium: Failure of Targeted Cellular Immunotherapy and Hematopoietic Cell Transplant: Mechanisms and Mitigating Strategies

Sunday, December 6, 2020, 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Co-Chairs:

Stephanie J. Lee , MD,MPH
President, American Society of Hematology, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle,  WA

John G. Gribben , MD, DSc, FRCP, FRCPath, FMedSci
Centre for Haemato-Oncology, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London
London,  United Kingdom

Speakers:

Crystal L. Mackall , MD
National Cancer Institute, NIH
Stanford,  CA
North American Perspective: Targeted Cellular Immunotherapy

Luca Vago , MD, PhD
San Raffaele Scientific Institute
Milano,  Italy
European Perspective: Hematopoietic Cell Transplant

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Best of ASH

Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Before heading home, make time to attend this 90-minute session for a review of the key themes from this year's meeting. Led by the 2020 Scientific Program co-chairs, Best of ASH is your opportunity to hear about the biggest breakthroughs from the meeting's scientific presentations.

Co-Chairs:

Alisa S. Wolberg , PhD
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill,  NC

Leslie Kean , MD, PhD
Boston Children's Hospital
Boston,  MA

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Business Meeting

Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 11:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

At least one month prior to the annual meeting, reports on ASH's financial status, awards, and journals, Blood and Blood Advances, as well as information about the Society's leadership nominations, are made available online for review by ASH members. The Business Meeting will offer a forum for members to discuss the information presented in these documents and will conclude with the traditional passing of the gavel to the new ASH president.

Chair:

Stephanie J. Lee , MD,MPH
President, American Society of Hematology, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle,  WA

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E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize

Monday, December 7, 2020, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are capable of self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation. The fate of HSCs is determined by the intrinsic cell program and the extrinsic microenvironment (niche) effect. Conceptually, the number of HSCs is determined by the probability of self-renewal division occurring through symmetrical and/or asymmetrical divisions under the influence of niche. Although self-renewal is essential for maintaining HSCs, the mechanism of the process has not been well elucidated and the ex vivo expansion of HSCs remains challenging.


Our work on HSCs encompass the purification of HSCs, identification of cytokine signaling in hematopoiesis, and the characterization of HSC niches in the bone marrow. We have delineated the endosteal and vascular niches for HSCs and have cultivated new fields of oxidative stress (ROS) and stem cell aging.


During step-wise differentiation of stem cells, the metabolic state associated with each differentiation stage differs. We have shown that quiescent HSCs predominantly utilize glycolytic pathways under the control of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) 1-alpha, while proliferating HSCs obtain energy through oxidative phosphorylation and purinergic metabolism.


Cellular metabolism is an area of intense research interest. However, the metabolic requirements and adaptations of stem cells and their niches remain largely unaddressed. I would like to summarize our recent works on HSC metabolism, which suggest that appropriate regulations of the metabolic state of HSCs may allow HSCs to self-renew and expand.

Chair:

Stephanie J. Lee , MD,MPH
President, American Society of Hematology, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle,  WA

Speaker:

Toshio Suda , MD,PhD
Cancer Science institute, National University of Singapore
Singapore,  Singapore
Quiescence and and Cell Metabolism in Hematopoietic Stem Cells

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Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize

Targeting the Aberrant Leukemia Epigenome

Monday, December 7, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

One of the great challenges in oncology is development of rational therapeutic regimens, truly specific to pathogenic mechanisms. Achieving this in the context of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a generally fatal tumor with extremely heterogeneous underlying biology, is both an urgent and challenging unmet need. Yet an AML subtype, acute promyelocytic leukemia, was the first tumor to be rendered curable by mechanism-based therapy.  In this case, convergence of therapy and biological mechanism emerged in a somewhat serendipitous manner.  However, it is of paramount importance to extend this novel therapeutic paradigm to a greater fraction of leukemia patients through rigorous translational research.  

More recently, exploring the epigenome of patients with AML led to another serendipitous convergence with potential to transform clinical practice.  Specifically, a subset of AML patients with somatic mutations in the genes IDH1, IDH2, TET2 and WT1 were observed to manifest a highly distinctive epigenetic profile.  Although previously these genes had been considered functionally disconnected, different lines of research were providing clues that fit together to reveal a completely novel pathogenic mechanism.  Central to this new paradigm was the discovery that mutant forms of IDH produce the aberrant onco-metabolite 2HG, which disrupts the function of epigenetic modifier enzymes and transcription factors.

The flurry of activity stemming from this new mechanistic discovery led to the rapid development of targeted small molecules with specific activity against mutant forms of the IDH1 and IDH2 enzymes, which led to rapid translation into the clinic where these agents are now clinically available for patients with AML harboring IDH1 or IDH2 mutations.  This year’s Ernest Beutler Award recipients will present this inspiring bench-to-bedside development story.

Dr. Ari Melnick will describe how defining the “epigenetic landscape” of hematologic malignancies led to demonstration of the role of epigenetic mutations as cancer drivers, highlighting how epigenetic targeted therapies can restore normal transcriptional programming in leukemic cells leading to their eventual extinction.   

Dr. Courtney DiNardo will summarize the recent advances in the clinical care of patients with AML, including small molecule and targeted “epigenetically-active” therapeutics such as the targeted and rationally designed IDH inhibitors that are rapidly changing the treatment landscape and overall expectations of AML therapy.

Chair:

Stephanie J. Lee , MD,MPH
President, American Society of Hematology, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle,  WA

Speakers:

Ari Melnick , MD
Weill Cornell Medical College
New York,  NY
Basic Science

Courtney D. Dinardo , MD,MSc
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston,  TX
Clinical Science/Translational Research

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Fireside Chat with Dr. Anthony Fauci

Saturday, December 5, 2020, 7:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.

Moderator:

Stephanie J. Lee , MD,MPH
President, American Society of Hematology, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle,  WA

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Ham-Wasserman Lecture

Saturday, December 5, 2020, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Avoidance of cell death is one of the hallmarks of cancer. This is particularly true in hematological malignancies where both malignant lymphoid and myeloid cells often are able to circumvent apoptosis. Indeed, the whole field of cell death in cancer was established by the discovery of how BCL2 functioned as a novel oncogene, the first to promote cell survival rather than enhance proliferation. That pioneering research in 1988 led to a >20 year journey of discovery and development that has culminated in the entry into routine clinical practice of a drug that specifically targets and inhibits BCL2.

Venetoclax is the first of a new class of anti-cancer drugs called BH3-mimetics. These small molecules mimic the actions of BH3-only proteins which function as the physiological antagonists of BCL2 and related pro-survival proteins in cells. Venetoclax kills cells by triggering apoptosis and this is entirely dependent upon its interaction with BCL2.

Dr Roberts will outline the basis for the exquisite sensitivity of chronic lymphocytic leukemia to venetoclax and explain why BCL2 inhibition can also be effective in hematological malignancies where expression of high levels of BCL2 is less uniform. His talk will outline the principles underpinning the rational use of combination therapies in acute myeloid leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, lymphomas and myeloma, and the bone fide mechanisms of clinical resistance. After reviewing the current approved uses of venetoclax in CLL and AML, he will discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by current exploration of BCL2 inhibition in trials for patients with other hematological malignancies.

Chair:

Stephanie J. Lee , MD,MPH
President, American Society of Hematology, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle,  WA

Speaker:

Andrew W Roberts , MBBS
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Parkville,  Australia
Therapeutic Development and Current Uses of BCL-2 Inhibition

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Late-Breaking Abstracts Session

Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Co-Chairs:

Christopher Flowers , MD,MS
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston,  TX

Sioban Keel , MD
University of Washington
Seattle,  WA

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Plenary Scientific Session

Sunday, December 6, 2020, 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

During this highlight of the annual meeting, attendees will hear the presentations of the highest-caliber scientific abstracts selected by the Program Committee from among the thousands submitted from around the world.

Chair:

Stephanie J. Lee , MD,MPH
President, American Society of Hematology, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle,  WA

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Presidential Symposium: Universal Donor Solutions in Hematology

Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Many life-saving treatments in hematology depend on removing blood cells or their precursors from one person then reinfusing them back into another person, or the same individual after alteration. In some cases, this product can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars because a complex manipulation must be done for each person. In other cases, a compatible donor is very rare or nonexistent. This session will focus on universal donor solutions in hematology. The three talks will span the field of hematology, from cellular immunotherapy to hematopoietic cell transplantation to red cells and platelets for transfusion. Making effective hematologic therapies available to more people requires universal donors to increase access.

Dr Gay Crooks will discuss a range of innovative approaches to cellular immunotherapy, including gene editing and stem cell engineering, that are focused on the next critical phase for the field: the production of universal, off-the-shelf cellular immunotherapies with targeted and consistent potency, that are rapidly available and effective for all patients.

Dr. Bronwen Shaw will discuss the recent innovations which have significantly expanded the possibility of identifying a donor for every patient requiring an allogeneic stem cell transplant. Advances in graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis, novel pre-transplant conditioning, tissue typing technologies and donor availability have addressed previous barriers and disparities in access.

Dr. Stella Chou will discuss the progress and challenges of generating induced pluripotent stem cell-derived universal platelet or red cell products, as well as customized cells lacking specific antigens to benefit patients with rare blood types. Her talk will review where the field stands on manufacturing clinically relevant cell numbers and achieving the same functionality as donor-derived blood products.

Chair:

Stephanie J. Lee , MD,MPH
President, American Society of Hematology, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle,  WA

Speakers:

Gay M. Crooks , MB, BS
University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles,  CA
Off-the-Shelf Cellular Immunotherapy

Bronwen E. Shaw , PhD, MRCP, FRCPath
Medical College of Wisconsin
Milwaukee,  WI
A Stem Cell Donor for Every Patient

Stella P Chou , MD
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia,  PA
Universal Platelets and Red Cells