ASH Awards Bridge Grants, New Podcasts from The Hematologist, and more

Twelve investigators will receive ASH Bridge Grants for promising blood disease research that could otherwise not be funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a result of severe federal funding restrictions.

The NIH is the world’s top provider of medical research grants; however, a decade of flat funding followed by across-the-board spending cuts has drastically reduced the agency’s budget. As a result, NIH is no longer able to fund as many high-scoring proposals as in the past. This has led to vigorous competition for NIH research project grant (R01) awards and is preventing meritorious projects from receiving vital financial support.

In an effort to preserve hematology research projects amid this uncertain funding environment, in 2012 ASH committed $9 million in Society funds to create the ASH Bridge Grant program. The one-year, $150,000 awards are designed to “bridge” recipients between NIH grants, allowing researchers to continue to fund their critical work while obtaining additional data to strengthen their grant applications. Since the beginning of the program, ASH has funded 74 researchers.

Research projects supported by ASH’s latest bridge grants encompass a wide range of basic, clinical, and translational hematology research. Funded projects include exploring the role of a protein in malaria infection, the molecular genetics of a congenital bone marrow disease, and a treatment for infant leukemia.
The recipients are:

  • Alison A. Bertuch, MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • Athar Chishti, PhD, Tufts University, Medford, MA
  • Carolyn A. Felix, MD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
  • Eric F. Grabowski, MD, ScD, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
  • Hervé Falet, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Izidore S. Lossos, MD, University of Miami, Miami, FL
  • Jean-Francois M. Rual, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Mamta Gupta, PhD, Mayo Clinic, New York, NY
  • Peter Kurre, MD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
  • Silke Paust, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • Takahiro Maeda, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Wolfgang Bergmeier, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Visit www.hematology.org/bridgegrantrecipients to view the complete list of ASH Bridge Grant recipients. To learn more about ASH’s Bridge Grant Program, visit www.hematology.org/bridgegrants.


ASH Collaborates with College of American Pathologists to Develop Guideline for Acute Leukemia Workup

ASH has been working with the College of American Pathologists (CAP) since 2011 on an evidence-based guideline on the workup of acute leukemia (both adult and pediatric). The guideline, scheduled to be released in early 2016, will provide recommendations about what clinical information, including from pathology tests, should be obtained in a newly diagnosed patient with acute leukemia. The guideline will also address questions related to the performance of lab testing, such as when to cryopreserve a bone marrow sample.

After reviewing and synthesizing the evidence, the expert panel agreed upon draft recommendations that were shared during a public comment period in August.

Following the open comment period, the guideline authors will consider all feedback to finalize the recommendations. The final recommendations will be included in the guideline manuscript and will be available at no cost.


Listen to the Latest The Hematologist Podcast; Now Available on iTunes

Adam Cuker, MD, MS, of the University of Pennsylvania and contributing editor of The Hematologist, and Thomas Ortel, MD, PhD, of Duke University School of Medicine, discuss the design, outcomes, and limitations of the BRIDGE study in the latest podcast from The Hematologist.

During this podcast, Dr. Cuker has a conversation with Dr. Ortel about perioperative bridging through the lens of the BRIDGE trial data, which were published by Dr. Ortel and colleagues in the New England Journal of Medicine. They discuss how its results may inform clinical practice and treatment of atrial fibrillation and other disorders. ASH Clinical News also reported on the outcome of the BRIDGE trial in the July issue.

The podcasts are available to stream or download on ASH’s SoundCloud page by visiting www.soundcloud.com/ash_hematology. Listeners can also download the SoundCloud mobile app from the Google Play or App Store to listen on their mobile device. In addition, they are now available on iTunes; search “ASH_hematology” in iTunes or in the Podcasts app, and click “Subscribe.”


ASH Webinars

ASH regularly hosts educational webinars that feature presentations by experts in the field, cover current information on how to best diagnose and care for patients, and provide time for speakers and participants to discuss relevant issues during a question-and-answer session.

Upcoming Webinar
ASH Webinar on Optimization of Hydroxyurea for the Management of Sickle Cell Disease

This webinar will highlight recommendations related to hydroxyurea therapy from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Expert Panel Report, discuss new data that modifies or expands on some of those recommendations, and review methods for optimizing hydroxyurea therapy for individual patients.

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2015
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Duration: 1 hour

Presenter Information:

  • John J. Strouse, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Hematology, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore, MD (Moderator)
  • Susan E. Creary, MD, assistant professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH
  • Richard Lottenberg, MD, professor of medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL
  • Amanda Brandow, DO, MS, assistant professor, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Past ASH Webinars

Recordings of ASH Webinars are available at ASH On Demand. Visit www.ashondemand.org/Webinars.

Webinars recently added to ASH On Demand include:

ASH Webinar on Panobinostat

Donna Reece, MD; S. Vincent Rajkumar, MD; and Paul Richardson, MD, discuss panobinostat, a new agent in the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma for use in conjunction with bortezomib and the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone, after the patient has received at least two previous drug regimes.

ASH Webinar on Blinatumomab

Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS; Donna Przepiorka, MD; and Mark Litzkow, MD, discuss blinatumomab, a new agent in the treatment of patients with Philadelphia chromosome-negative precursor B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia , an uncommon form of ALL.

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