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Tech It Up a Notch: Hematology's Artificial Intelligence and Cell Engineering Extravaganza!

MMMM d, yyyy
Abdul Rafae, MD, (@a_rafaemd), Samer Al Hadidi MD, MS, (@HadidiSamer)
Myeloma Ctr, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Inst., Univ. of Arkansas for Medical Sci., Little Rock

Well, folks, if you are a hematologist, you have picked a heck of a time to be in the game! The field of hematology is going through a wild growth spurt that is more exhilarating than a roller coaster ride. We have seen some exciting advancements recently that have supercharged our hematology toolbox. 

These nifty breakthroughs are not just cool; they are giving us the power to diagnose with pinpoint precision, hit diseases where it hurts, and understand the secrets of our own biology. Whether you are a lab wizard or a clinical whiz, these tools are like your trusty sidekicks, helping you save the day. 

However, as Uncle Ben from “Spider-Man” said, "With great power comes great responsibility." Therefore, it is on us to master these new gadgets and figure out all the remarkable tricks they can perform. It is like being a superhero with a bunch of newfangled gear. 

Now, get ready to have your mind blown, because the 65th ASH Annual Meeting and Exhibition is going to be the ultimate playground for these exciting sessions. We are talking cellular therapies that sound like science fiction, diving headfirst into the wild world of artificial intelligence (AI), and cracking the code of cell biology in ways we never thought possible. It is like the Super Bowl of hematology, and you are invited to take front row seats! So, strap yourselves in and get ready for a wild ride into the future of hematology. 

Let us first dive into the realm of cellular therapies, where we have witnessed nothing short of a revolution in the treatment of hematologic disorders such as multiple myeloma and lymphoma. These cutting-edge techniques allow us to engineer cells that are not just effective but practically superheroes in the fight against disease. One of the main catches? Availability. Unexpected setbacks have emerged related to product manufacturing challenges and biologic properties of cells from heavily treated patients. Simultaneously, we have witnessed rapid advances in alternative effector cell types, such as γδ T, natural killer T (NKT) T, and NK cells, with distinct advantages such as lower graft-versus-host disease potential and off-the-shelf convenience. This evolving landscape encourages us to compare, contrast, and explore the potential of these alternative cell types, including their unique features, genetic modifications, and clinical testing for hematologic cancers. The Education Spotlight Sessions are here to shed light on this landscape. On December 11, Carlos A. Ramos, MD, will talk about off-the-shelf αβ and NKT cells for cancer therapy during the session entitled Who Are the Alternatives for Cellular Therapies? Engineering and Retargeting Other Effector Lymphocytes. There also will be a close look at T-cell engineering, a novel addition to the toolbox of cancer immunotherapy.  

But wait, there's more! In recent years, the world of AI and machine learning has exploded like a confetti cannon at a celebration. Publicly accessible tools like ChatGPT and other AI platforms have taken the world by storm and have been embraced by people across various disciplines. By marrying these technologies with massive data sets, we have created a trusty sidekick that can take us places we have never been. Hematology, of course, did not miss the AI party. As we approach 2024, the perfect moment is upon us to peer into the crystal ball and see how AI is transforming our world. It is not just about diagnostics; AI is crafting personalized treatment plans. During the Special Interest Session AI in Hematology: Where Do You Stand in 2023? scheduled for December 11, there will be a conversation about the role of AI in drug discovery. This is a fascinating new frontier, yet there are challenges. Integrating AI into clinical practice and ensuring its safe and ethical use are critical pieces of the puzzle. One part of the discussion will delve into the ethics of AI, while another will lay out the tantalizing promise AI holds for the future of the hematology clinic. 

Now, let us peek through the microscope. On December 9, Anita Eckly, PhD, will show us the magic of high-resolution 3D imaging of megakaryocytes during the Scientific Program with Emerging Methodologies to Investigate Platelet Biology. The mysterious process of platelet intravasation from bone marrow into the circulation is about to be unveiled. One part of the event will offer a front-row view of the complex dance of platelet formation, all brought to life in dazzling 3D. But the excitement doesn't end there! Another segment will feature dynamic live imaging of platelets, and yet another will uncover the pivotal role of next-generation sequencing in platelet biology. 

In the grand scheme of things, our hematology toolbox has expanded like a magician's hat — filled with marvels of disease understanding, advanced diagnostics, and precision medicine. This is not just about hope for patients; it is a driving force for research, transforming hematology into one of the most dynamic and promising specialties in medicine. The best part? The toolbox is still growing, and as technology keeps evolving, the journey toward better hematology care continues. It is an exciting time to be in the world of hematology, and the show is just getting started! 

Drs. Rafae and Al Hadidi indicated no relevant conflicts of interest. 

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