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Alan D. D’Andrea, MD, and Neal S. Young, MD, to Present 2018 American Society of Hematology Ernest Beutler Lecture

(WASHINGTON, August 14, 2018) – The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will honor Alan D. D’Andrea, MD, of Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Neal S. Young, MD, of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, with the 2018 Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize for their significant research contributions to the study of inherited and acquired bone marrow failure syndromes. 

The Ernest Beutler Lecture, named for the late Ernest Beutler, MD, past president of ASH and physician-scientist for more than 50 years, is a two-part lectureship that recognizes major translational advances related to a single topic. The award honors two individuals: one recognized for enabling advances in basic science, and the other recognized for using clinical science or translational research to carry basic science advances through to tangible improvements in patient care.

Drs. D’Andrea and Young will present their lecture, Bone Marrow Failure, on Monday, December 3, during the 60th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego. Dr. D’Andrea will present his basic research in Fanconi anemia, a constitutional marrow failure syndrome and Dr. Young will focus on clinical and translation studies of acquired aplastic anemia.

“I have always been fascinated by the genetic underpinnings of cancer, inherited blood disorders have provided rich opportunities for further study,” said Dr. D’Andrea. “I have had many inspiring connections with Dr. Beutler over the years and so it is a great honor to deliver the Ernest Beutler Lecture at ASH.”

Dr. D’Andrea’s laboratory is focused on understanding the genetic pathways that lead to bone marrow failure – in which the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells – and cancer. Among his major scientific achievements, Dr. D’Andrea’s laboratory demonstrated an important molecular link between Fanconi anemia (FA), a rare genetic bone marrow failure disorder, and common cancers that affect the general population, such as breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Dr. D’Andrea’s other notable scientific accomplishments include the discovery that inhibiting the transforming growth factor (TGF- β) pathway, which plays a role in cell signaling, helps avoid bone marrow failure and therefore may be a potential therapeutic target for people with FA. His work on FA and its many interconnections with other important cancer susceptibility pathways holds promise for future basic research discoveries and therapeutic interventions.

In addition to his work in the laboratory, Dr. D’Andrea is a sought-after speaker and has previously given Presidential Symposium presentations at the 2004 and 2011 ASH Annual Meetings. Dr. D’Andrea was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017.

Dr. Young, chief of the hematology branch of NHLBI, is recognized for seminal contributions to the understanding of bone marrow failure syndromes, particularly acquired aplastic anemia, and the development of effective treatments. His comprehensive work on the interaction between human parvovirus B19 and erythroid progenitors in the marrow led to deep understanding of the pathogenesis, an effective therapy for persistent viral infection, and a candidate recombinant vaccine.

In sequential clinical trials in bone marrow failure, Dr. Young established the standard of care for patients with acquired aplastic anemia, targeting its immune pathophysiology with immunosuppressive therapy. Optimizing immunosuppression has reversed the dire prognosis of this usually fatal blood disease of the young. Most recently, the Hematology Branch team discovered that eltrombopag can stimulate the failed bone marrow, likely at the stem cell, and increases and speeds recovery of blood counts.

In 2008, Dr. Young presented ASH’s E. Donnall Thomas Lecture, an honor that recognizes pioneering research achievements in hematology that represent a paradigm shift or significant discovery in the field. 

“I am grateful to receive a major honor from my colleagues at the American Society of Hematology, and in recognition not just of my personal efforts, but of the flourishing field of bone marrow failure, which has had many exciting advances in recent years,” said Dr. Young. “In practice, we have reversed historically poor outcomes for patients with severe aplastic anemia: most did not survive a few decades ago, and now a poor outcome is unusual.”

“Drs. D’Andrea and Young have given us a deeper understanding of bone marrow failure disorders, and their basic science and translational contributions provide an inspiring example of the bench-to-bedside progress that characterized Dr. Beutler’s own work and career,” said ASH President Alexis Thompson, MD, MPH, of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. 

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 60 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online. In 2016, ASH launched Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

Sara Khalaf, American Society of Hematology 
[email protected]; 202-552-4925