Dear Friends and Colleagues,
One more year has passed and a New Year is already here! I wish you all a healthy, joyful, exciting, productive, peaceful, and enjoyable 2015 from the personal and professional standpoints.
When I look back, I reasonably think that 2014 was a good year for EBMT. All things considered, I am happy and thankful to all EBMT members and staff for their strong support and trust. As a matter of fact, the problems we are facing with the registry upgrade project are frustrating, and require a lot of energy and patience. However, I am optimistic that things will move forward during 2015.
In December 2014, like many of you, I attended the ASH annual meeting in San Francisco. I believe this was a turning point meeting for the hematology discipline. There were quite a few “major highlights” I could mention, mostly, related to breakthrough and fascinating results achieved with newer immunotherapeutic agents and advanced cellular therapies. The treatment paradigm of several hematologic diseases is radically shifting towards new concepts and approaches. The role of stem cell transplantation (whether autologous or allogeneic), needs to be refined and revisited. The advent of new effective drugs for several diseases provides a lot of hope for many patients, but it is likely that stem cell transplant is here to stay. Thus, our greatest challenge for the near future would be to assess the specific role of transplantation with or without novel agents in net health outcomes that should include, in a specific disease setting, an analysis of disease-free survival and overall survival balanced against treatment-related toxicity, complications, and risk of death. Cost of drugs is also becoming an important matter of concern worldwide. Assessment of the total cost of the comprehensive treatment of a given disease from diagnosis to final outcome is likely more important than the cost of a single drug. Our responsibility as a leading international professional society is to validate and propose effective and affordable treatment strategies which could be widely accessed. All of these issues are nicely reflected in the program of our next annual meeting.
My first twitter coverage of a major event (#ASH 2014) was fabulous! It further convinced me that EBMT needs to have a strong and visible social media presence. A specific session will be dedicated to this topic during our next annual meeting in Istanbul, which is already promising to be a very successful one, with more than 1200 abstracts submitted from all over the world (the full program can be viewed at http://www.ebmt2015.org ). Here, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of the expert reviewers who managed to submit their reviews between Christmas and the New Year festivities. Thanks to the dedication of an awesome group of people, EBMT 2015 will be an astonishing meeting in that most spectacular city of Istanbul.
Now, for the travelling part of the year, the different airline alliances were kept busy taking me to several international meetings. During these (usually very short) trips, I have always learnt a lot and I have spent some good moments, meeting colleagues and friends who often went out of their way to offer me their hospitality, organise hospital visits, and share their experiences and thoughts with me. And, to top up my gratitude to those who make my EBMT presidency enjoyable, I have to single out my colleagues from the board and all EBMT staff. I feel proud and honoured to have a loyal and entrepreneurial group working hard to serve the interests of the Society and its members, and to advance the boundaries of stem cell transplantation.
I wish you a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! And please do not forget to follow the EBMT news on Twitter @TheEBMT and @Mohty_EBMT and using the annual meeting hashtag #EBMT2015.