The American Society of Hematology (ASH), the world’s largest professional association of hematologists concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders, expects more than 20,000 attendees at the 50th ASH Annual Meeting from December 6-9, 2008, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. The meeting will showcase the latest research and treatments for blood disorders. In honor of the Society’s golden anniversary, there will also be several special programs including a unique video project featuring influential figures in hematology.
“It is my distinct honor to serve as President during this celebratory year in the Society’s history. The ASH annual meeting continues to be the premier forum for physicians and researchers from around the world to hear the most up-to-date developments in hematology, and this year will be no exception,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, 2008 ASH President, and Helen M. Ranney Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego S.... “In addition to presenting research that affects hematologists in every area of the discipline, this year’s meeting underscores 50 years of unprecedented growth and advancement in the field.”
Highlights of the meeting include special symposia, education programs, special interest seminars, and scientific sessions. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the meeting will also feature historical displays showcasing major scientific discoveries and clinical advances in the specialty. Several world-renowned scientists will share their life stories and speak about groundbreaking medical discoveries during the Pioneers in Hematology sessions.
The Special Symposium on the Basic Science of Hemostasis and Thrombosis will provide an opportunity for communication among scientists in the field and focus on the most important basic science contributions from 2008 to each of the three major areas of the field: thrombosis, blood coagulation and fibrinolysis, and platelet biology. In September, the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Deep-Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism encouraged public awareness of this blood condition that affects nearly 1 million Americans each year. The symposium will take place on Tuesday, December 9, from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. PST.
This year’s Practice Forum, 'The Patient, the Hematologist, and the Unexpected,' will focus on two areas of unexpected results encountered commonly enough to raise the interest of the hematology community. Additionally, this session will look at the public policy environment that will shape the practice of hematology and the Society as it enters its 51st year. This event will take place Saturday, December 6, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Another highlight of the meeting is the Presidential Symposium, which will focus on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These cells are known for their role in the cure of a variety of diseases as well as for providing an understanding of stem cell development in all mammalian biology. During the symposium on Tuesday, December 9, from 9:45 – 11:45 a.m., three eminent investigators who have made significant contributions to our understanding of HSC biology will discuss the properties of these cells and their role in the human body.
Neal S. Young, MD, of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH), will discuss the pathophysiology of bone marrow failure and how clinical observations of patients with this disease have provided insights into the biology of autoimmunity, viral pathogenesis, and cancer at this year’s E. Donnall Thomas Lecture on Monday, December 8, from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Bob Löwenberg, MD, PhD, of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, will give the Ham-Wasserman Lecture on Saturday, December 6, from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Dr. Löwenberg’s lecture will focus on the numerous genetic abnormalities found in acute myeloid leukemia patients and ways to use this information to develop individualized therapies. Both the E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and the Ham-Wasserman Lecture represent areas of medicine that have evolved immensely over the last 50 years.
The Honorable Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will receive ASH’s Award for Public Service for her long-time support and leadership on health care issues such as increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and advocating for stem cell research. After assuming the office of Speaker in January 2007, Speaker Pelosi made passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act one of the cornerstones of the “First 100 Hours” agenda of the 110th Congress. Speaker Pelosi was also instrumental in guiding legislation through Congress to prevent scheduled cuts in Medicare reimbursement for physicians.
Susan Shurin, MD, Deputy Director of the NHLBI (a part of the National Institutes of Health) will be honored with ASH’s Outstanding Service Award. In her role as Deputy Director, Dr. Shurin has worked closely with ASH on many activities of importance to hematology, including restructuring and enhancing NHLBI’s sickle cell disease research program. Dr. Shurin has been a tireless advocate of ensuring NHLBI is at the forefront of innovative technologies and cutting-edge research that will help patients with serious blood diseases such as hemophilia, leukemia, lymphoma, and deep-vein-thrombosis (DVT). She has also been a long-standing and dedicated member of the Society with extensive service on numerous committees and as a faculty member for the ASH Clinical Research Training Institute, an education and mentoring program for promising hematologists early in their careers.
“Both Speaker Pelosi and Dr. Shurin have provided outstanding leadership to strengthen and support programs critical to the work carried out by researchers and practitioners in the hematology community,” said Kaushansky and Helen M. Ranney Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. “It is my honor and pleasure to recognize these two distinguished individuals for their achievements.”
The awards will be announced on Sunday, December 7, at 1:30 p.m. PST following the joint ASH and European Hematology Association Policy Forum.
This year’s plenary policy forum, '50 Years of Progress in Hematology,' which is co-sponsored by ASH and the European Hematology Association, will feature Nobel Prize winner Peter Agre, MD, who will discuss how his research on water channels in red blood cells, as well as the research of others that originated in hematology, grew to have profound and catalytic influences on numerous areas of science.