ASH meeting brings blood cancer experts together in person for the first time since the pandemic

Cancer in the blood outbreak and treatment for malignant cells in a human body caused by carcinogens and genetics with a cancerous cell as an immunotherapy and leukemia or lymphoma symbol and medical therapy as a 3D render.

Three-dimensional rendering of cancer in the blood

Researchers from the University of Chicago Medicine shared scientific advances and clinical updates in blood diseases at the 64th American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting and exposition held December 10-13, 2022 in New Orleans.

ASH is the premier conference highlighting updates in hematology. Themes of this year’s meeting included health equity; maternal health; novel targeted therapies including bispecific antibodies, gene and cellular therapies; molecular characterization of disease; and measurable residual disease (MRD).

The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC) had a robust representation at ASH with many oral and poster presentations from faculty, researchers, clinicians and trainees. Several researchers were recognized with honors and awards.

On December 9, one day before the ASH meeting, scientific workshops were conducted to discuss the latest scientific developments in particular fields of hematology.

Lucy Godley, MD, PhD, Hospira Foundation Professor of Medicine and Professor of Human Genetics, along with Marcin Wlodarski, MD, PhD, from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, organized a workshop to educate on new developments in germline predisposition to bone marrow failure and in hematological malignancies. Daniel Arber, MD, Donald West and Mary Elizabeth King Professor of Pathology and Chair of Pathology, presented a talk on the “International Consensus Classification of Myeloid and Lymphoid Neoplasms.”

ASH-a-Palooza was held December 9 at Mardi Gras World. The components of ASH-a-Palooza included micro-learning, mentorship, networking and more.

“Blood Drops” are five- to 10-minute-long micro-learning sessions. In one of these sessions, Shannon Elf, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research and the Committee on Cancer Biology, described her journey as a 2020 ASH Scholar Award recipient. In another, Wendy Stock, MD, Anjuli Seth Nayak Professor of Medicine, gave a short lesson on malignant hematology.

“Blood Buddies” are the 10-minute mentoring sessions. Olatoyosi Odenike, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Leukemia Program, was one of the faculty experts on adult clinical malignant hematology in one of the Blood Buddies sessions.

Nicole Arellano, a graduate student from Elf’s lab and Minority Abstract Achievement Award recipient, presented her data on calreticulin mutants in chaperone function and its implication in myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Caner Saygin, MD, a third-year hematology-oncology fellow and recipient of a Research Training Award for Fellows, gave an oral presentation on the “molecular characterization of adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia that identifies a subgroup with myeloid mutations and pre-existing clonal hematopoiesis.”

Ben Derman, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, gave an oral presentation on data from an ongoing clinical trial that focuses on MRD-guided discontinuation of maintenance therapy in multiple myeloma patients to carry significant cost savings.

Sonali Smith, MD, Elwood V. Jensen Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Section of Hematology/Oncology, delivered a talk on how to give an effective scientific/educational presentation during a trainee didactic session.

At the late-breaking abstract session, Odenike, who co-chaired the annual meeting Education Program along with David Garcia, MD, from the University of Washington in Seattle, highlighted the highest-impact abstracts, featuring substantive, novel and groundbreaking data that were not available by the general abstract submission deadline.

Posters with research findings were presented by the following faculty, trainees and fellows:

  • Gregory Roloff, MD — Stagnation in quality of next-generation sequencing assays for the diagnosis of hereditary hematopoietic malignancies.
  • Anand Patel, MD – Outcomes of patients with accelerated/blast-phase myeloproliferative neoplasms in the current era of myeloid therapies.
  • Kirk Cahill, MD – Prospective multi-center phase I/II trial of lenalidomide and dose-adjusted EPOCH-R in MYC-associated B-cell lymphomas.
  • Ivy Abraham, MD – Measures of structural racism predict ICU admission following intensive chemotherapy for AML.
  • Matthew Jotte – Chromosome 7 myeloid tumor suppressor genes cooperate in chemotherapy resistance.

Research and expertise by these faculty was also shared at the conference:

The following individuals were recognized with honors, awards and achievements:

  • Nicole Arellano - Minority Abstract Achievement Award
  • Raven Watson - Minority Hematology Graduate Award
  • Samuel Yates, MD - ASH HONORS Award (Resident student)
  • Caner Saygin, MD - Research Training Award for Fellows

Also, several UCCCC faculty and trainees actively participated in The ASH Foundation Run/Walk December 11 to raise funds for the ASH Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to move hematology forward to conquer blood diseases worldwide. First-year hematology/oncology fellow Alexandra Rojek, MD, organized a team for the University of Chicago.

This year’s ASH meeting was offered in a hybrid configuration combining both in-person and virtually. Moreover, on-demand content has been made available online after the meeting.

View the complete list of 2022 ASH Annual Meeting presentations in which UCCCC faculty, clinicians, researchers and trainees were the speaker, chair or moderator. Health professionals can learn more about practice-changing abstracts at the 9th Annual Updates from ASH 2022, led by course director Michael Bishop, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Program, on Friday, February 24, 2023.

The 65th ASH annual meeting & exposition will be held December 9-12, 2023 in San Diego.