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Back to Basics: Special Events for the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Community

December 9, 2023

“Helping hematologists conquer blood diseases worldwide” 

 

That message, which visitors see within seconds of opening the ASH website, is a somewhat pithier version of ASH’s official mission. For more than six decades, ASH has been committed to fostering high-quality, equitable care; transformative research; and innovative education to improve the lives of patients with blood and bone marrow disorders. This mission is more than mere words on a page. Over the past 65 years, ASH’s clinical, educational, and advocacy-related efforts have consistently improved outcomes for some of the world’s most vulnerable hematology populations. However, that work is far from over, noted Alisa Wolberg, PhD, chair of the Committee on Scientific Affairs.  

In conjunction with other committees, organizations, and ASH leadership, the Committee on Scientific Affairs is responsible for developing strategic priorities in scientific areas of interest to ASH membership. Among these priorities is ensuring that programming at the annual meeting meets the needs of the scientists in attendance. Dr. Wolberg, who also serves as the associate editor of Blood Advances, was frank in her statement on the importance of the latest findings to be discussed at this year’s Special Symposium on the Basic Science in Hemostasis and Thrombosis. 

“Despite many advances in hematology and hemostasis and thrombosis over the years, there are clearly still major mysteries standing between hematologists and the patients being treated. Bleeding and thrombosis remain leading causes of death and disability worldwide and complicate many diseases including hematologic malignancy and other disorders. Basic science studies uncover fundamentally important mechanisms and knowledge that is essential for understanding pathways contributing to these diseases, mechanisms of action of current drugs, and inspiring newer drugs that are more effective and safer.” 

Featured speakers at this year’s symposium include Caterina Casari, PhD, who will focus on Antibody-Based Strategies as Potential New Treatments for Von Willebrand Disease; Matthew J. Flick, who will focus on Novel Mechanisms for Targeting Fibrin(ogen) to Suppress Thrombosis; and Marie Lordkipanidzé, who will focus on Platelets As Biomarkers and Vectors of Neuroactive Agents. When asked to comment on the most intriguing topic, Dr. Wolberg had some difficulty choosing, highlighting the overarching theme that ties them together: 

“All of the speakers will be presenting on data that marry deep knowledge of fundamental mechanisms with actionable next steps. The talks are all focused on discoveries that move from the bench to novel potential approaches that, if successfully advanced, could become new methods to diagnosing and treating important clinical problems. These talks are wonderful examples of why it’s so important to perform basic science studies to gain knowledge that can be leveraged to advance hematologic care especially in the areas of hemostasis and thrombosis.” 

Attendees may recognize the recurring nature of this particular symposium—a testament to the critical nature of addressing gaps in the field and the rapidity with which advances in basic science methods tend to occur. However, Dr. Wolberg also highlighted another important point:  

“Nature keeps throwing new challenges at medicine, and some of these situations are unlike anything we’ve seen before. The pandemic is the easiest recent example. Sometimes knowledge gained incidentally ends up being a key clue to understanding pathology we haven’t even heard of yet. Basic science investigations give us all of this and more. It’s absolutely vital that we maintain steady support for basic science. Our lives really do depend on this!” 

While the session itself is only 90 minutes—not nearly enough time to cover the true breadth and depth of the current science—attendees will also have the opportunity to engage with others in their field at the ASH Hemostasis and Thrombosis Community Networking Reception (available to in-person participants only). According to Dr. Wolberg, this is where it all comes together: 

“Ultimately, science is done by people for people. The magic really happens when people come together to think about science and scientific problems, and that is more likely when people know each other and enjoy talking with each other and debating experiments and data. This symposium celebrates people passionate about hemostasis and thrombosis, and brings us together to meet, talk, and become colleagues and friends ready to tackle important questions together. This is a community built on many years of questions and discoveries. The reception is a fantastic initiative of ASH to support this community and help ensure advances for years to come.” 

 

Special Symposium on the Basic Science in Hemostasis and Thrombosis

Monday, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Convention Center, Room 30

ASH Hemostasis and Thrombosis Community Networking Reception

Monday, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Convention Center, East Terrace (Upper Level)

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