David Steensma, MD

    David Steensma, MD

    Edward P. Evans Chair in MDS Research and Institute Physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Editor-in-chief of ASH Clinical News
    • Editor’s Corner: The Zoombie Apocalypse Saturday, August 1st, 2020

      Last Thursday, due to a calendar snafu, I found myself scheduled for videoconferences continuously from 8 a.m. until after 10 p.m. That meant 14 hours sitting in the same office chair and staring at the identical glowing rectangle, wiggling my legs periodically to avoid blood clots. It turned out that all of these meetings required [...]

    • Editor’s Corner: At World’s End Friday, May 1st, 2020

      Just before the first deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus were reported in the U.S. and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts declared a state of emergency, my wife and I went for a Sunday afternoon hike in a park south of Boston called World’s End, which now seems prophetic. In 1945, World’s End was short-listed as a [...]

    • Editor’s Corner: The China Conundrum Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

      As I begin writing this editorial, nanoscience expert Charles Lieber, PhD, Chair of Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, is sitting in a nearby jail. He has been held there since his arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 28.1 A federal judge has set his bail at $1 million, [...]

    • Fathers (and Mothers) of Hematology Monday, September 16th, 2019

      In 1963, Boston hematologist William Dameshek wrote an essay in the journal he’d founded 17 years earlier, Blood, describing 18th-century English anatomist William Hewson’s detailed studies of the thymus.1 Before Hewson’s untimely death at age 34 from sepsis contracted during cadaver dissection, he not only linked the thymus to the lymphatic system, he also discerned the [...]

    • Off to the Races: The Breakthroughs of Immunotherapy Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

      ASH Clinical News Associate Editor David Steensma, MD, reviews The Breakthrough, which traces the evolution of immunotherapy to treat – and potentially cure – cancer. Have you read any hematology-related books recently? Let us know what we should read and review by emailing us at ashclinicalnews@hematology.org.

    • Draining the Email Swamp Thursday, November 1st, 2018

      On a typical weekday, I receive 200 emails and send 40. Unless you, dear reader, are the taciturn Seattle hematologist who hasn’t responded to any of my emails since 2014, your incoming and outgoing electronic communication volume is likely similar. (If you are that guy, there is no longer any need to reply to my [...]

    • How would you reduce the transfusion burden in a patient with CCUS? Friday, June 29th, 2018

      This month, David Steensma, MD, discusses transfusion burden in a patient with clonal cytopenias of undetermined significance. And don't forget to check out next month's clinical dilemma - send in your responses for a chance to win an ASH Clinical News-themed prize!

    • What’s in a (Drug) Name? Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

      Shakespeare claimed that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. A medication with a confusing name, though, can cause a fatal mistake. That’s why pharmaceutical companies exert so much effort creating clear and distinctive contemporary drug names, sometimes with peculiar results. The drug-naming process is complicated – with multiple steps and people [...]

    • Treating Spin Doctors Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

      Recently, a hospital in Boston announced that a senior staff scientist had developed a “cure” for leukemia. I wasn’t surprised to read this – there are many clever and creative leukemia investigators in Boston, and promising new developments emerge from local labs on a regular basis. Were I a devoted follower of academic medical center [...]

    • Molecular Stamp Collecting Monday, May 1st, 2017

      The great experimental physicist Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) provocatively claimed, “All science is either physics … or stamp collecting.” Lord Rutherford intended his cocky quip as a jab at the geologists, chemists, and biologists of his era – especially zoologists and botanists, with their endless species descriptions and taxonomies, but lack of a coherent narrative about [...]

    • A Way With Words: David Steensma, MD Thursday, December 1st, 2016

      When did your interest in crossword puzzles start? Did you enjoy puzzles growing up? My mother has long been an avid “cruciverbalist” – a crossword puzzle aficionado. In 1977, when I was in elementary school, Mom subscribed to a new magazine called Games, which included a workable newsprint puzzle section called, “Pencilwise.” As my own [...]

    • On Eating Bone Marrow Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

      The first time I ate bone marrow was, fittingly, shortly after I spoke on marrow failure at a conference in Milan, where osso bucco with saffron risotto is a local specialty. The tiny, back-alley trattoria where I could afford dinner on a hematology fellow’s salary was praised in a guidebook written by public television’s European [...]

    • Kindred Spirits Sunday, May 1st, 2016

      “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables Despite the cultural and political differences that divide us, humans across the globe are remarkably similar. As Sting once sang, “We share the [...]

    • Cyclothymia and the ASH Annual Meeting Sunday, November 1st, 2015

      After years of attending the ASH annual meeting, I’ve come to understand my meeting-related emotional cycle well enough to avoid taking it too seriously. Each December, I rotate through a set of five now-predictable peri- and intra-meeting moods, paralleling Freytag’s classical dramatic arc – a trivial version of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ canonical stages of grief. If [...]

    • My First Eosinophil Friday, May 1st, 2015

      When a shocking historic event occurs, many can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the terrible news. I, too, can recall intimate details of awful incidents like the September 11th attacks or the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. But I also remember times when I was surprised by joy [...]