Researchers and clinicians from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System were well-represented at the 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition in Florida, the world’s largest gathering of experts who treat and study blood diseases. Faculty members delivered 12 oral presentations and dozens of poster presentations at the conference, which attracted more than 30,000 participants and showcased the latest advances in hematology.
“The large number of presentations given by our faculty and trainees on treating blood diseases and cancers is a testament to the excellence of the research and clinical care being done at Montefiore and Einstein,” said Amit Verma, M.B.B.S., professor of medicine and of developmental and molecular biology at Einstein and director of the division of hemato-oncology at Montefiore. “Our contributions reinforce Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care’s position as a top treatment center and showcase the prestige of our NCI-designated Albert Einstein Cancer Center and stem cell research institute,” added Dr. Verma, who also delivered a talk on the latest advances in treating myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
During the four-day conference, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society presented its Scholar Achievement Award to Ulrich Steidl, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cell biology and of medicine and the Diane and Arthur B. Belfer Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research at Einstein. Dr. Steidl’s research helped identify the stem-cell origins of MDS. His work has also led to clinical trials, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Verma, with experimental drugs targeting defective stem cells that give rise to MDS as well as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Dr. Steidl also presented a lecture on developing novel therapeutic strategies against hard-to-cure leukemias.
Paul Frenette, M.D., professor of medicine and of cell biology and chair and director of the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research at Einstein, gave a presentation on the bone marrow microenvironment and its effect on blood cancers. Three members of Dr. Frenette’s lab also presented research at the conference.
"I am very proud of the progress we are making in hematology research and the impact that we will bring to create greater understanding of disease mechanisms and therapy for these diseases,” said Dr. Frenette.
Britta Will, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and of cell biology, and a faculty member of the stem cell institute, delivered a talk on her laboratory’s research on iron metabolism and its effects on stem cells. Deepa Manwani, M.B.B.S., professor of pediatrics at Einstein and director of pediatric hematology at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, gave a presentation on newer gene therapies for childhood blood diseases.
Other presentations included:
- Diego Adrianzen-Herrera, M.D., a former postdoctoral fellow mentored by Aditi Shastri, M.B.B.S., on the increased rates of heart disease in patients with blood cancers
- Shuxian Dong, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow co-mentored by Dr. Will and Ana-Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D., on the regulation of hematopoietic stem cells by chaperone-mediated autophagy
- Xin Gao, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow mentored by Dr. Frenette, on the transfer of macrophages (immune-boosting white blood cells) to blood-forming stem cells in bone marrow
- Sandra Pinho, Ph.D., an adjunct associate in the department of medicine and former postdoctoral fellow mentored by Dr. Frenette, on the effect of the protein VCAM1 on immune tolerance in blood-forming and leukemic stem cells
- Nishi Shah, M.D., a postdoctoral fellow mentored by Ioannis Mantzaris, M.D., on the disparity in leukemia cure rates in Hispanic and Black patients
- Joshua Weinreb, M.S., a graduate student mentored by Teresa Bowman, Ph.D., on the role of DDX mutations in causing blood cancers and anemia
- Chunliang Xu, Ph.D., an associate in the department of cell biology and mentored by Dr. Frenette, on the gut microbiome’s regulation of stress-induced inflammation in sickle cell disease
In addition to the talks, the following Montefiore and Einstein faculty members and trainees presented posters: Henny Billet, M.D.; B. Hilda Ye, Ph.D.; Kira Gritsman, M.D., Ph.D.; Roberto Alejandro Sica, M.D.; Keisuke Ito, M.D., Ph.D.; Margarita Kushnir, M.D.; Srinivas Aluri, Ph.D.; Nora Rahmani, M.D.; Kristina Ames, Ph.D.; Gaurav Choudhary, Ph.D.; and Ellen Fraint, M.D.