Sylvester Plays Leading Role at International Blood and Marrow Transplant Meeting

Last week’s 2015 BMT Tandem Meeting, held jointly by the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research in San Diego, put the Miller School of Medicine’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and its stem cell transplant programs solidly in the international spotlight.

The meeting is the largest in the field of blood and marrow transplantation, and this year’s gathering attracted a record 3,100 attendees, with 610 abstracts submitted from investigators in 28 countries, another record. Included in that total was a multidisciplinary delegation of nearly two dozen Sylvester physicians, administrators, nurses, pharmacists, data managers and others involved in transplantation, who participated in most of the meeting’s 11 parallel tracks.

Krishna V. Komanduri, M.D., Director of Sylvester’s Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program, served as Chair of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation’s Scientific Program Committee and overall meeting Co-Chair, a role that required more than a year of planning. He also chaired the best abstracts session, highlighting the best clinical and scientific research of the meeting.

“It was judged to be a highly successful meeting, on the basis of the record numbers and high quality of the scientific sessions,” Komanduri said, “and we celebrated two long-term achievements — a woman who has lived 52 years since her transplant and the recruitment of 25 million stem cell donors worldwide.”

Komanduri, who presented some of the research from his own laboratory, said Sylvester’s large delegation demonstrated the size and sophistication of its stem cell transplant programs.

“When people get diagnosed with a blood cancer, we want them to think of Sylvester,” he said. “In terms of successful treatment, it takes a small army to get it right, and we have the necessary expertise across all disciplines. This was demonstrated by our large presence at the BMT Tandem Meeting.”

Komanduri also was appointed to a five-year term as Co-Chair of the Infection and Immune Reconstitution Committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, which gathers and publishes data on blood and marrow transplantation from around the world. In addition, he is the Vice Chair of an advisory group on financial barriers to transplantation for the National Marrow Donor Program, which matches donors with patients.

“One of the key issues in our field relates to financial barriers to transplantation,” said Komanduri. “Our goal nationally and locally is to limit those barriers, to achieve the best possible outcomes while reducing financial burdens on patients and to the healthcare system.”

Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Sylvester’s Director, also praised the quality of the meeting.

“This was an invaluable opportunity for our delegates to show the world the progress we have made,” he said. “Our adult and pediatric transplant programs have tripled in size in the past two and a half years.”

Nimer, a transplant physician for more than 30 years, made an important contribution to the conference through his role as Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of the Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation — an organization whose mission is to encourage the development of more effective therapies for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and related cancers, and which has given away more than $25 million since its founding in 1998. This year Nimer oversaw the presentation of three $60,000 support awards to new investigators.

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