ASH Publishes New Clinical Practice Guidelines on AML in Older Adults
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is pleased to announce the release of new guidelines for treating newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in older adults. The guidelines, developed in partnership with the McMaster GRADE Centre and published in Blood Advances, offer treatment recommendations for this vulnerable population based on rigorous, systematic reviews of available evidence.
The recommendations were developed by a panel of experts in leukemia, geriatric oncology, quality-of-life assessment, end-of-life care, and frailty and are guided by the principle that throughout a patient’s disease course, optimal care involves ongoing discussions between clinicians and patients, continuously addressing goals of care and the relative risk-benefit balance of treatment.
“These guidelines take providers through the conversations they have with newly diagnosed patients, almost in real time,” said Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS, chair of the ASH AML guideline panel and director of the Leukemia Program at Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute. “A discussion between patient and physician is instrumental to creating a personalized treatment plan, and these guidelines are unique in that they keep a patient’s goals and wishes front and center in that conversation,” said Dr. Sekeres, who was the founding editor-in-chief of ASH Clinical News from 2014 through 2019.
If appropriate based on an individual patient’s treatment preferences, the guidelines recommend chemotherapy or other medications in addition to supportive care and outline when more intensive therapy versus less intensive therapy should be considered. They also outline the clinical benefit of palliative red blood cell transfusions for those who are no longer receiving antileukemic therapy, including patients in end-of-life or hospice care.
Many hospice programs currently will not allow patients to receive blood product transfusions, often for economic reasons. For patients with AML who are receiving hospice-based care, the guidelines recommend that blood transfusions should be considered standard supportive care, as they can address palliative needs related to breathlessness, bleeding, and profound fatigue, as well as improve overall quality of life. This guidance supports an ASH policy statement in favor of ensuring Medicare hospice beneficiaries can access palliative transfusions.
The AML guidelines are the most recent product of a larger guideline development initiative for ASH, which includes a commitment to the timely update of existing guidelines and the development of new guidelines on a range of hematologic conditions. In the coming months, resources to aid in the implementation of the guidelines will be added to the ASH website. Find the guidelines at hematology.org/AMLguidelines.
Now Accepting Applications!
ASH Medical Student Physician Scientist Award
The ASH Medical Student Physician Scientist Award gives medical students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a yearlong laboratory, translational, or clinical research experience under the mentorship of an ASH member and to attend the ASH annual meeting where they can network with the top minds in the field. Awardees will also receive $42,000 of funding to cover living and education expenses, as well as research supplies and insurance. Applications are due January 15, 2021.
ASH Research Training Award for Fellows
The ASH Research Training Award for Fellows (RTAF) is designed to encourage junior researchers in hematology, hematology/oncology, and other hematology-related training programs to pursue careers in academic hematology. The RTAF is open to both MD and MD-PhD researchers between their 2nd and 5th year of fellowship. The award provides each recipient with $70,000 for a 1-year period to guarantee protected time for clinical, basic, or translational research. Applications are due January 15, 2021.
ASH HONORS Award
The ASH HONORS Award contributes to the development of the next generation of hematologists by providing research funding for talented medical students and residents, who may choose to conduct their research over a maximum of 3 months during the summer or over a span of 3 to 12 months. Awardees receive a $5,000 stipend to support work on a hematology-related research project and are encouraged to continue research careers in hematology. Applications are due February 15, 2021.
PLUS: Announcing Two New ASH Awards!
Graduate students and fellows from underrepresented groups in the health-related sciences in the U.S. and Canada can now apply for new hematology research awards under ASH’s Minority Recruitment Initiative. Applications for both awards are due January 15, 2021.
- The Minority Hematology Fellow Award provides $100,000 to support a 2- to 3-year research experience for junior researchers (MD/DO or PhD postdoctoral fellows) pursuing a career in academic hematology.
- The Minority Hematology Graduate Award offers PhD students exposure to hematology by providing $80,000 in research support over a 2-year period to conduct hematology-related research.
Apply for these ASH awards and learn about other opportunities at hematology.org/awards.
2020 ASH Annual Meeting Goes Virtual
Given the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASH has decided to present the 62nd ASH Annual Meeting — which was originally going to be held in San Diego on December 5-8 — as a fully virtual event. Attendees will have the option of 1-week, 30-day, or 90-day access to the meeting platform.
Find the latest details at hematology.org/annualmeeting.