ASH Announces Executive Committee Election Results, New Clinical Practice Guidelines, and more

Robert Brodsky, MD
Cynthia Dunbar, MD
Jamile Shammo, MD
Betty Pace, MD

The Votes Are In! ASH Announces Executive Committee Election Results

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) has announced the election of four new members to its Executive Committee for terms beginning after the 2020 ASH Annual Meeting in December.

  • Robert Brodsky, MD, will serve a 1-year term as vice president, followed by successive terms as president-elect and president.
  • Cynthia Dunbar, MD, will serve a 4-year term as secretary.
  • Jamile Shammo, MD, and Betty Pace, MD, will each serve 4-year terms as councillors.

Dr. Brodsky is a professor of medicine and oncology and the director of the Division of Hematology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, where he is also the director of the Physician-Scientist Pathway for the Osler Medical Training Program. Dr. Brodsky’s research interests include bone marrow failure states, bone marrow transplantation for non-malignant diseases, complement and complement-related disorders, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.

Dr. Brodsky has been a dedicated ASH volunteer, currently completing his term as the Society’s secretary. An ASH member since 1992, Dr. Brodsky has chaired the ASH Scientific Committee on Bone Marrow Failure and has served the Program Committee since 2014, including co-chairing the 2016 Scientific Program. Dr. Brodsky currently serves on the Task Force on Immunotherapies and also served on the editorial board of ASH’s journal Blood.

“My experiences working on various ASH programs have provided me with a deep appreciation and understanding of the Society’s mission to promote research, clinical care, training, and advocacy in hematology,” Dr. Brodsky said. “As I look toward the next few years, recruiting, inspiring, training, and mentoring the next generation of hematologists is of clear importance. We need to recruit a diverse, inclusive workforce to treat hematology patients and ensure that early-career investigators can access research funding that allows them to pursue clinical and laboratory-based research.”

Dr. Dunbar, Secretary-elect, is the Chief of the Translational Stem Cell Biology Branch within the Intramural Research Program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD and former editor-in-chief of Blood. In addition, she was recently elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Dunbar’s research interests include laboratory research on hematopoiesis, natural killer cell biology, CAR T cells, hematopoietic stem-cell gene therapy, the pathophysiology and treatment of congenital and acquired bone marrow failure syndromes, stem-cell mobilization and engraftment, and stem-cell transplantation.

Dr. Shammo, councillor-elect, is a professor of medicine and pathology of the section of Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation, Division of Hematology/Oncology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Shammo’s research interests include myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), and bone marrow failure.

Dr. Pace, councillor-elect, is a professor of pediatrics and Francis J. Tedesco Distinguished Chair of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics; a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology; and a professor of graduate studies at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University. Her research interests include drug discovery to treat sickle cell disease, mechanisms of globin gene regulation, and training junior investigators and increasing diversity in the hematology workforce.

Congratulations to the newest members of the ASH Executive Committee!


New: ASH Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Preventive Anticoagulation in Patients with COVID-19

On October 8, ASH released draft recommendations for public comment as part of its new clinical practice guidelines to help clinicians prevent serious blood clotting complications affecting patient with COVID-19.

For both acutely and critically ill patients, the guidelines suggest the use of a standard prophylactic dose of anticoagulation upon admission to the hospital. The use of higher doses of anticoagulants is not recommended, as it may pose greater risk for serious bleeding that outweighs potential benefits. However, the guideline panel highlighted the importance of individualized decision-making and acknowledged that a higher dose of anticoagulants may be appropriate in patients judged to be at especially high clotting risk and low bleeding risk.

“It is important that [patients with COVID-19] be given anticoagulants to try to prevent clots, and data available right now suggest that standard dosing provides the best balance of benefits and risks,” said 2020 ASH President Stephanie Lee, MD, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “Equipping clinicians with evidence-based guidelines that focus on the prevention of clotting has the potential to save lives.”

In June 2020, ASH formed a multidisciplinary, internationally representative panel to develop the guidelines. The panel examined all available evidence, including early reports from observational studies. Development of these guidelines, including systematic evidence review, was supported by the McMaster University GRADE Centre in Canada. At this time, the best available evidence is very low quality, and the recommendations are framed with conditions, explanations, and a call for more research. The systematic reviews and recommendations will continue to be maintained and updated, especially as better evidence from randomized clinical trials becomes available.

During October and November, these recommendations and a report of the guideline development process are undergoing public review and ASH organizational review and approval. Ultimately, the guidelines will be submitted for publication in Blood Advances. The evidence supporting these guidelines will be maintained through living systematic reviews and updated as needed.

Learn more about these and other ASH Clinical Practice Guidelines at hematology.org/COVIDguidelines.


Catherine Bollard, MD, MBChB

Blood Advances Announces Next Editor-in-Chief

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is pleased to announce the next editor-in-chief of Blood Advances, Catherine Bollard, MD, MBChB.

Dr. Bollard is the Director of the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research and Director of the Program for Cell Enhancement and Technologies for Immunotherapy at Children’s National Research Institute in Washington, DC. She is also Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine at the George Washington University and is the Associate Center Director for Translational Research and Innovation at the George Washington University Cancer Center.

“As editor-in-chief, I will aim to capture new developments in the immunology, immunotherapy, cell therapy, gene and cell therapy, and transplant fields,” said Dr. Bollard, whose 5-year term as editor-in-chief begins in September, 2021. “We have tremendous opportunities for growth, and I think in order to grow we must consider what readers want, how we can provide quality service for authors and reviewers, and how we can establish our own identity as a journal.”

Blood Advances has a broad presence, a large and growing number of manuscript submissions, and an engaged readership,” she continued. “I am looking forward to continuing to build and strengthen the journal as its editor-in-chief.”

Find the latest research in Blood Advances at ashpublications.org/bloodadvances.


Now Published: ASH Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Treatment of DVT and PE

ASH’s new clinical practice guidelines on the treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) in patients without cancer are now published in Blood Advances.

These are part of a series of 11 guidelines ASH is developing on venous thromboembolism (VTE) with support from the McMaster University GRADE Centre in Canada.

Strong recommendations include the use of thrombolytic therapy for patients with PE and hemodynamic compromise, use of an international normalized ratio (INR) range of 2.0 to 3.0 over a lower INR range for patients with VTE who use a vitamin K antagonist (VKA) for secondary prevention, and use of indefinite anticoagulation for patients with recurrent unprovoked VTE. Conditional recommendations include the preference for home treatment over hospital-based treatment for uncomplicated DVT and PE at low risk for complications and a preference for direct oral anticoagulants over VKA for primary treatment of VTE.

According to guideline Treatment Panel Chair Thomas Ortel, MD, PhD, of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, these guidelines allow “a practicing physician anywhere in the United States [to] put together a recommendation for a patient and know that it’s based on the best available data and the best synthesis of [those] data.”

Find the guidelines and learn more at hematology.org/VTEguidelines.

ASH Commits $19 Million to Fund Development of 10 New Hematology-Focused Fellowship Tracks

A new ASH program will provide institutional funding for the development of 10 new hematology-focused fellowship tracks within existing adult hematology-oncology training programs for five cohorts each, producing 50 new academic hematologists by 2030.

The program aims to enhance recruitment of internal medicine (and med-peds) residency graduates and to retain them in lifelong subspecialty careers focused on academic multidisciplinary nonmalignant and/or malignant hematology. Multidisciplinary nonmalignant hematology programs may pair traditional training with career-enhancing opportunities such as transfusion medicine, sickle cell disease, or hemostasis/thrombosis – or a broader academic emphasis such as medical education, systems-based hematology, or outcomes research.

The formal request for proposals is scheduled for publication on February 15, 2021. More information about requirements, eligibility, and timeline are available at hematology.org/hfftp.


ASH Somatic Working Group Develops Gene Variant Resource for Hematologic Malignancies

One of the goals of the American Society of Hematology’s (ASH’s) Precision Medicine Initiative is to enhance genomic profiling of blood diseases. To that end, the ASH Somatic Working Group is pleased to announce the availability of a resource documenting the genes and providing classification for variants routinely screened for in hematologic malignancies.

The working group has integrated clinical classifications of genomic variants from several collaborating institutions and a systematic review process to create a reliable resource for diagnostics based on next-generation sequencing. This resource should lead to more consensus in molecular testing reports for patients undergoing evaluation of myeloid and lymphoid malignancies.

Contributors will work through discrepant interpretations, and these will be regularly updated on the ASH website in the future. The methodologies (including bioinformatics pipelines) by which discrepant interpretations are resolved will be described in detail.

Find the variant resource and learn more about the initiative at hematology.org/research/gene-table. Questions? Please contact ASHPrecisionMedicine@hematology.org.