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Wouldn’t You Rather Be Building Bridges? A Scientific Workshop Preview

MMMM d, yyyy
Hilary Whitworth, MD, MSCE, (@HilaryWhitworth)
Division of Hematology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

As the excitement builds for the upcoming ASH annual meeting in San Diego, let’s start by highlighting the Scientific Workshops on December 8. With nine interesting workshops to choose from, ranging from diagnostic techniques to worms (yes, worms!), there is something for everyone. Multiple workshops will attract attendees from both sides of the hematological aisle: the Interplay between Coagulation and Malignancy, Diagnostic Techniques in Classical and Malignant Hematology, and Defining Goals and Utilizing Tools for Enhancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Clinical Trials in Hematology.  

I am excited for the workshop on the Interplay between Coagulation and Malignancy, co-chaired by Lisa Baumann Kreuziger, MD, MS, and Jeffrey Zwicker, MD. Here, classical and malignant hematologists can unite to unravel the mechanism of the second leading cause of death in patients with cancer: venous thromboembolism. The workshop will highlight thrombosis in brain tumors and myeloproliferative neoplasms, as well as the role of neutrophil extracellular traps in cancer-associated thrombosis. Drs. Kreuziger and Zwicker said they planned this workshop to highlight early career hematologists and scientists. However, there will be no shortage of expertise and exciting science, with a goal to have hot topics and recent (sometimes unpublished) data to promote discussion. They want people of all backgrounds and experience levels to feel welcome to join. Dr. Kreuziger said the workshop is focused on mechanisms of cancer-associated thrombosis, but that the science will be presented in a way that anyone could understand and be engaged with – be it an undergraduate, PhD student, laboratory principal investigator, or clinician.  

Another workshop capturing both malignant and classical hematology audiences is on Diagnostic Techniques in Classical and Malignant Hematology, co-chaired by Irina Murakhovskaya, MD, Bruno Fattizzo, MD, Piers Blombery, PhD, MBBS, and Torsten Haferlach, MD, PhD. This workshop will be of interest to attendees who perform and interpret diagnostic testing in hematology. Dr. Blombery hopes that “each talk will showcase either an area of clinical need where novel diagnostic techniques will be described, or a particular diagnostic technique and its applicability to a range of clinical contexts.” With content ranging from antibody testing in autoimmune cytopenias to molecular diagnostics in leukemia, we are in for a tour de force of hot topics in classical and malignant hematology. The lectures will be followed by case-based discussions sure to ignite active dialogue amongst a broad group of attendees.  

Of particular interest to me is the workshop on Defining Goals and Utilizing Tools for Enhancing DEI in Clinical Trials in Hematology, co-chaired by Arushi Khurana, MBBS, and Alan E. Mast, MD, PhD. As a budding clinical trialist and a clinician, I know it is important to generate data that is applicable to all my patients. If you are a trialist, biostatistician, clinician, or just a casual reader of the literature, understanding and improving the diversity of clinical trial populations is relevant to you. The workshop will define the current state and expected barriers and provide a roadmap to successfully increase DEI in hematology trials through the keynote address by Dr. Mast. The co-chairs aim to identify concrete and achievable solutions and disseminate previously successful methods to achieve these goals. With speakers from the Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical industry, as well as clinician-scientists, the entire hematology community is welcome to learn how we can increase diversity in our trials — ensuring that scientific advances will improve care for everyone. 

While I have only highlighted three of the nine workshops, they all offer an exciting opportunity to brush up on key topics and learn new science. If you will not be in San Diego in time for the workshops, I hope this preview gets you excited to explore them virtually, and plan to join next year! While there is always a flurry of activity on the opening Friday of the ASH meeting, the Scientific Workshops are the perfect way to get grounded and launch your meeting experience! 

Dr. Whitworth indicated no relevant conflicts of interest.  

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