EBMT NEWSLETTER | November 2015 | Volume 49 - Issue 1

Important dates
  1. Solid Tumour Working Party Educational Course
  2. Inborn Errors Working Party Meeting
  3. Complications and Quality of Life Working Party Educational Course
  4. 18th Training Course of the Infectious Diseases Working Party

Solid Tumour Working Party Educational Course

A multispecialist pathway towards a therapy and health-educational model

September 30 - October 1 2015 in Cremona, Italy

The Solid Tumor Working Party of the EBMT performed in Cremona on September 30th involved the participation of 7 speakers, 4 chairmen and 86 health-care professionals. The session began in the charming environment of Palazzo Trecchi, one of the most beautiful historical palaces located in the hearth of the city center. The EBMT session focused on the potentiality of the latest therapeutic advances for the treatment of solid neoplasms (ST), including cell therapies and gene therapies, and widely analyzed the latest data about stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) for ST. Moreover, the meeting discussed about the latest biological improvements in the setting of the isolation of metastatic cells and nucleic acids, and critically evaluated the existing relationships between the field of clinical research and regulatory authorities.

Opening ceremony of the STWP meeting: on the left : Dr Lanza's opening speech, Dr Bottini, co-chaiman of the meeting, Dr Rossi, Hospital Director, Dr Cafaro, Dr Stradoni, medical Director of the Cremona health care system

As a first topic, the new frontiers of cell therapies for the treatment of ST have been discussed, immediately capturing the attention of the audience: initially, Dr. Comoli elucidated the public about the novel perspectives arising from the latest improvements in cell therapies, a discussion which has been followed by Dr. Bondanza's presentation focusing on the reappraisal of cell and gene therapies in the EU and on the perspectives for the EBMT group.

Professor C.A. Hudis, ASCO former president, magistral lecture focused on the current value of cancer care for both the society and the scientific research. Ultimately, the presentation highlighted the importance and the necessity of a more in-deep and transparent collaboration between regulatory authorities and the field of clinical research.

After the intervention of Prof C.A Hudis, the session moved the attention on the current status of SCT in the setting of ST. Although this controversial procedure has been partially abandoned after an initial boom in the nineties, recent evidences are besides suggesting that some particular types of ST, such as triple-negative breast cancer and germ-cell tumors, could potentially benefit from it and thus obtain a clinical advantage. The novel perspectives of HSCT in the clinical settings of triple-negative BC and germ-cell tumor have been presented respectively by P. Pedrazzoli and A. Necchi , who objectively explained the current data available for this procedure and who focused the attention on the several prospective and retrospective studies which could be performed in the near future. Then, the intervention of Prof. Reuben from MD Anderson Cancer Center allowed to learn about the latest biological advances in the setting of  HSCT, including novel technologies for the characterization of circulating tumor cells according to their invasion and migration properties, and the latest improvements in the field of isolation of nucleic acids.

Overall, the meeting has been evaluated positively by the participants, who appreciated the objectivity of the discussions and the transparency of the presentations. 

Inborn Errors Working Party Meeting

October 16-18 2015 in Sevilla, Spain

The IEWP Autumn meeting this year was hosted in Sevilla, over a wet Andalusian autumn weekend. Around 130 people attended, including participants from Australia, Brazil, Argentina and the USA.

In a departure from previously, Friday morning was given over to a trainee workshop on how to perform a transplant for Primary Immunodeficiencies, attended by over 50 people.
In the afternoon, a busy agenda started well, as we discussed progress in treatment of metabolic disease, particularly with gene therapy, and then conditioning pharmacokinetics.

Unusually, we finished on time, but Saturdays packed agenda proved too much, and a debate on the merits of haplo-transplantation was postponed.
Luigi Notarangelo from Boston Childrens gave the Keynote Lecture on the spectrum of RAG deficiency, a breath-taking tour de force.

Professor Luigi Notarangelo giving the Keynote Lecture

Sunday morning saw an IEWP first – Georg Hollander was unable to join us for the session on thymic disorders and transplantation, but delivered an outstanding lecture from Japan via skype.
The meeting concluded by discussing current IEWP project proposals. As ever, the presentations were fresh, with many new data shown, and the debate was lively and intense. Sessions included metabolic disease, conditioning regimens, haemaglobinopathies, new PID indications for HSCT, gene therapy including an update on clinical trials, a fascinating lecture on vector tracking and emerging technologies of gene editing, a session on primary immunodeficiency including newborn screening for severe combined immunodeficiency and approach to management, osteopetrosis, thymic disorders and new studies.

Despite a record number of attendees, we maintained a close friendship, with shared goals of improving old and developing new treatments to improve outcomes for our patients. The wonderful city of Sevilla entertained us each evening including an amazing trip to “Jardines de Los Reales Alcázares” and tapas.

Complications and Quality of Life Working Party Educational Course 

Thinking Outside the Box: Going beyond ‘Survival after Stem Cell Transplant’

 October 29-30 2015 in Leuven, Belgium

The EBMT CQWP held two educational events last month in Leuven, Belgium. More than two hundred participants gathered to think outside the box and go beyond the concept of survival after allogeneic transplantation.
A special nurses symposium took place on October 28th and reviewed the role of nurses in improving medication adherence, the quality of long-term clinics, discussing sexuality after transplantation, the management of CMV and screening for secondary cancers. It ended with a touching word from the newly born patient advocacy group, Lotuz (www.lotuz.be).
The next two days were devoted to the WP business meeting and to an interesting course focused on over-looked aspects of survival after HSCT. Insights were given on the impact of the complex composition of tears on ocular GVHD, and the various clinical manifestations of this disease on the genital tract, the nerves and the brain. Professor Greinix chaired a beautiful session about endpoint priorities in GVHD research, with an emphasis on the simplification of criteria. This was followed by a comprehensive review of the present and future of data capture for GVHD.
On the second day, Professor Salooja lead a comprehensive session on insidious complications where the ASBMT guidelines for dosing chemotherapy in overweight patients were reviewed as well as relapse after HSCT, bone health and iron overload. Six abstracts were presented with grantees coming from all over Europe and even Australia. Prof Greenfield was the chair of a most provocative session on patient behavior, and opened our eyes about the importance of giving the patient permission to discuss sexuality, cognitive disorders and medication adherence after transplantation. Finally, Professor Ruutu coordinated a special session discussing the role of immunity in the management of ABO mismatch and graft failure. The session ended on a lively discussion of the true risk of secondary cancers after HSCT and the recently published expert-based screening guidelines.

This unconventionally sunny symposium was a great opportunity to exchange expertise and stimulate creative thinking… because after all ‘if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got’(Albert Einstein). We hope to see you next year in Madrid to carry on the debate.

Rafael Duarte & Hélène Schoemans, with many thanks to our generous sponsors: MSD, BMS, Therakos, Celgene, Chugai & Takeda Oncology.

18th Training Course of the Infectious Diseases Working Party

October 29–30 2015 in Verona, Italy

The IDWP Training Course is annually organised to give the opportunity to younger colleagues to have 2-days of full immersion in the main burning current topics of infectious complications in stem cell transplant patients as well as to create an informal atmosphere allowing discussions and questions to the speakers.
In total, 63 people attended this 18th edition, including 15 renowned “scientific opinion-maker” speakers and 48 young participants from all over Europe plus Russia and Georgia.

The main topics presented and discussed at the meeting were: the role of hospital and community environment in causing infection, the post-transplant immune recovery and immunotherapy, the management of viral hepatitis, the epidemiology, risk factors, and management of fungal infections, the role of genetic predisposition for the occurrence of fungal infection, the epidemiology, risk factors and management of bacterial infection, the prevention and therapy of citomegalovirus infection.
Moreover, 9 young attendees were selected to present a clinical case on severe or rare infectious complication for discussion and sharing expertise with other colleagues. Except for the first day, the course was accompanied by beautiful sunny days so that we could enjoy a walk tour of the historical city center to admire some of the most famous sites and buildings of Verona such as the roman Arena, the roman bridge on Adige river, the old castle of Scala family with his medieval bridge, the Juliet house and many other famous places of the city.
The course was followed by IDWP business meeting open to interested participants to facilitate the involvement of new people in the future scientific activities. 
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