Premier international meeting provides latest news and issues in blood disorders

December 05, 2003

(San Diego, Calif., December 5, 2003) - More than 20,000 physicians and scientists from around the world will gather for the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), the premier multidisciplinary event in blood disease research, which takes place December 6 - 9, 2003, at the San Diego Convention Center. Researchers and other experts will present the latest breakthrough findings in the field of hematology, covering topics ranging from leukemia and lymphoma to thrombosis and stem cells.

"The ASH annual meeting is the premier event for academic and practicing hematologists throughout the world, providing a unique forum for hematologists to learn about scientific and clinical advances in the area of hematology research," said Ronald Hoffman, M.D., President of the American Society of Hematology.

Hematology is a subspecialty of internal medicine involving the study of blood, which affects all organs and virtually every human function. Hematologists treat patients with a wide range of blood-related conditions, including hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, HIV-AIDS, leukemias and lymphomas, and blood clotting disorders.

The Plenary Policy Forum (scheduled for Sunday, December 7, from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. PST), will address health insurance coverage issues in the United States, and will feature the Honorable John Kitzhaber, M.D., former governor of Oregon. The discussion will address the increasing number of uninsured, a national problem affecting practicing physicians and their patients. Immediately following is the Plenary Scientific Session (1:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. PST), during which investigators chosen by ASH will present state-of-the-art research in the field of hematology. Presented abstracts will report on advances related to lymphoma, deep vein thrombosis, pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia and gene expression profiling, and polycythemia vera.

The Presidential Symposium (scheduled for Tuesday, December 9, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. PST) will cover epigenetics in hematology. Epigenetics is the study of mitotically heritable changes (a process that takes place in the nucleus of a dividing cell) in gene expression that are not caused by alterations of DNA sequence. "The influence of epigenetics on human disease has become increasingly apparent," according to Dr. Hoffman. "This will lead to further insights into the biogenesis of a variety of diseases and the development of novel therapeutic approaches."

Dr. Zhen-Yi Wang, Professor of Medicine and Pathophysiology at the Shanghai Second Medical University (SSMU), will present the annual Ham-Wasserman Lecture, titled "Treatment of Acute Leukemia by Inducing Differentiation and Apoptosis." Dr. Wang and his group have performed pioneering work in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia, a rapidly progressing bone marrow cancer, which has led to the improved survival of patients. Dr. Wang is the first speaker from Asia to serve as the Ham-Wasserman Lecturer, which honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of hematology.

"ASH is committed to identifying the latest developments in the hematology field," says Stanley Schrier, M.D., President-Elect of the American Society of Hematology. "The ASH meeting provides a vehicle for scientists to gather and share data, learn new techniques, and discuss new ways to save lives and help prevent hematologic diseases from developing in healthy individuals."

Other program highlights for media include:
The American Society of Hematology is the world's largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems, by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology.

American Society of Hematology

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