CSI Singapore co-hosts premier haematology event

More than 600 medical professionals and academics from 20 countries attended the American Society of Hematology’s (ASH) 2014 Highlights of ASH (HOA) in Asia programme from 29 to 30 March. Held in Singapore for the second time, the meeting was co-organised and supported by ASH and NUS’ Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore).

Its four Programme Co-Chairs were Associate Professor Chng Wee Joo from NUS’ Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, who is also Deputy Director and Principal Investigator at CSI; Associate Professor Ong Sin Tiong, Principal Investigator who helms the Laboratory of Hematologic Malignancies at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore; Professor Marc Kahn, Senior Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs at Tulane University School of Medicine; and Professor Wendy Stock, Director of the Leukemia Programme at the University of Chicago Medicine.

“CSI has partnered with ASH to bring in North American speakers who are clinical experts in their areas and at the cutting edge of patient treatment, many who are involved in the latest clinical trials. The conference is educational in nature and aims to provide clinicians from the region a chance to exchange and learn from experts in these diseases,” said Assoc Prof Chng. He is concurrently Senior Consultant and Head of the Division of Haematology at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore.

Topics for the three regional HOAs, held in Asia, Latin America and North America, are chosen from ASH’s Annual Meeting’s line-up, based on their relevance for the regions. The HOA meetings are much smaller in size compared to the ASH Annual Meeting, which draws tens of thousands of participants. The HOA in North America programme has about 150 to 250 participants, so as to keep the group to a reasonable size to maintain a smaller and more interactive setting. The Asian version, however, gathers between 500 and 600 participants, to accommodate the interest from the regional haematology community, as many do not have the opportunity to travel to the US for the Annual Meetings.

Assoc Prof Chng and CSI Director Professor Daniel G Tenen, who attend the ASH Annual Meetings, had long envisaged bringing the best of ASH to Singapore and Southeast Asia, not only to develop ties and provide an educational dimension in this area of medicine, but also to add to the clinical resources in the country and region.

ASH is able to develop educational programmes and activities in different regions around the world, including the 2014 international HOA programmes in Asia and Latin America, thanks to an annual grant from the Wallace H Coulter Foundation. The Foundation also supports two young scholars from each of the partner-organisation countries to attend an HOA meeting.

To localise the Annual Meeting’s content for Asia, experts from the 13 regional haematology partner organisations worked with the North American speakers, who have presented at ASH conferences and meetings in the US, to exchange information and insights about specific diseases from the regional moderators’ country or the region at large. Moderators and speakers for each session were also available for consultation during the meeting and liaised directly with each other to share expertise on the region and key disease areas.

Among the topics presented at HOA in Asia were “Disorders of Hemostasis”, “Bone Marrow Failure”, “Acute Myeloid Leukemia”, “Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia” and “Thrombosis and Anticoagulation”.

Also lending support to the event were commercial companies such as Janssen, Bayer, Celgene and Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as various partnering organisations. The latter are the Chinese Society of Hematology; Haematology Society of Australia & New Zealand; Hematology Society of Taiwan; Indian Society of Hematology & Blood Transfusion; Indonesian Society of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine; Japanese Society of Hematology; Korean Society of Hematology; National Cancer Centre Singapore; National University Cancer Institute, Singapore; Pakistan Society for Molecular and Clinical Hematology; Singapore General Hospital; Singapore Society of Haematology; and Thai Society of Hematology.

Article source: NUS News

More coverage: Asian Scientist