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Let the Learning Begin! A Preview of the Scientific Workshops

November 18, 2022
Victoria Vardell, MD, and Manni Mohyuddin, MD

Dr. Manni Mohyuddin (@ManniMD1) hails from Peshawar, Pakistan, and attended Aga Khan University in Karachi. He is an assistant professor in the Division of Hematology and Hematologic Malignancies at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and recently served as an abstract reviewer for the Outcome Research category. He specializes in plasma cell dyscrasias and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In his downtime, Dr. Mohyuddin is an avid cyclist, a novice skier, and an obsessive book reader. “If I were not a hematologist,” he said, “I would have gone into politics … and actually tried to do good!”

Joining Dr. Mohyuddin this year is Dr. Victoria A. Vardell. A native of Sandpoint, Idaho, she completed undergrad at the University of Wyoming and medical school at Creighton University in Omaha. She is currently an internal medicine resident at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where she will begin her hematology and oncology fellowship at the Huntsman Cancer Institute next year. Her clinical interests include malignant hematologic disorders, especially multiple myeloma. Dr. Vardell’s hobbies include mountain biking, trail running, snowboarding, and skiing.

     

There is so much to look forward to each year at the ASH annual meeting. We know we speak for many attendees, but one thing we all look forward to is the new ideas and concepts that we take away. From insights into the latest breaking research, to newer ways to conceptualize and understand hematologic disorders, every year at the end of the meeting, we are invigorated by new knowledge. And we cannot think of a better way to begin the meeting and be inspired than by attending the Scientific Workshops. These interactive discussions, led by leading experts in their field, discuss the latest scientific developments in numerous areas within hematology and encourage collaborative efforts for future research. Taking place on Friday, December 9, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., with 10 workshops to choose from, every hematologist will find something to get excited about. Indeed, the hardest choice might be choosing just one given the time constraints. Although all 10 will be available on demand through the virtual meeting platform.

One that captures our interest is the “Scientific Workshop on Hematology and Aging,” co-chaired by Drs. Ashley Rosko and Heidi Klepin. Now in its ninth consecutive year, the workshop addresses the many unmet needs of aging adults with classical and malignant hematologic diseases. Dr. Rosko, who was a founding member of this workshop, reports that this workshop has successfully led to a network of partnerships, collaborations, mentoring, and sponsorships, and this year’s offering will highlight the work of emerging investigators in the field. With the rapidly growing population of older adults with hematologic diseases, this workshop’s focus on age-specific preclinical models, clinical trial enrollment, frailty metrics, and screening tools, is noteworthy.

We are also excited for “Bedside to Bench: Dissecting Emergent CAR T-cell Toxicities Beyond CRS and ICANS,” in which leaders in the field will explore unusual and complicated toxicities of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy. In an era where the number of CAR T-cell constructs and their indications has rapidly increased, this is particularly relevant. While cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and immune effector cell associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS) are daunting, coagulopathy, cytopenia, and other emerging adverse effects can be particularly challenging, often due to our limited understanding of their mechanisms and management. This workshop will emphasize the ongoing translational research necessary to understand these rare and unique toxicities. Topics will include autoimmune cytopenia, refractory CRS and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, coagulopathy, and rare neurotoxicities. There will be something in this workshop for everyone — from clinicians to lab scientists to trainees — trying to wrap their heads around this new treatment modality.

Finally, just when we were beginning to grasp the fourth edition of the WHO classifications of hematologic malignancies, the fifth edition has been released, and the implications on research and clinical practice are immense. Drs. Piers Blombery and Torsten Haferlach will be co-chairing the session on “Translational Molecular Diagnostics: Genomic Reclassification of Blood Cancer,” a highly relevant topic as we incorporate these newer classifications into clinical practice. This workshop will not only explore the newly described genomically defined entities but will also cover methodologies to describe and discover new genomic subtypes, while providing insight into therapeutic implications. For many of us who nerd out about these disease states and classifications, we could not have asked for a more informative session, learning directly from the experts!

While we’ve highlighted just a few here, be assured that all 10 workshops are captivating and valuable opportunities to learn about exciting areas of hematology. With topics that are far-reaching (“Advancing Decentralized Clinical Trials in Hematology”), that bridge the world of classical and malignant hematology (“Interplay between Coagulation and Malignancy”), and that tackle more focused subjects (“Thrombotic Microangiopathies”), this workshop series contributes unique and interesting insights to this exciting field. Whether a laboratory or clinical investigator, participating virtually or on-site, you will find something to take away from these and to get excited about for the rest of #ASH22. I hope you are as thrilled as we are to kick things off by attending one of these fascinating discussions!

Dr. Vardell and Dr. Mohyuddin indicated no relevant conflicts of interest

About the Authors: Dr. Manni Mohyuddin (@ManniMD1) hails from Peshawar, Pakistan, and attended Aga Khan University in Karachi. He is an assistant professor in the Division of Hematology and Hematologic Malignancies at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and recently served as an abstract reviewer for the Outcome Research category. He specializes in plasma cell dyscrasias and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In his downtime, Dr. Mohyuddin is an avid cyclist, a novice skier, and an obsessive book reader. “If I were not a hematologist,” he said, “I would have gone into politics … and actually tried to do good!”

Joining Dr. Mohyuddin this year is Dr. Victoria A. Vardell. A native of Sandpoint, Idaho, she completed undergrad at the University of Wyoming and medical school at Creighton University in Omaha. She is currently an internal medicine resident at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where she will begin her hematology and oncology fellowship at the Huntsman Cancer Institute next year. Her clinical interests include malignant hematologic disorders, especially multiple myeloma. Dr. Vardell’s hobbies include mountain biking, trail running, snowboarding, and skiing.

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