ASH Annual Meeting to Highlight Key Themes in Hematology

Pharmacy Times® will be on site at the 61st American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition.

The 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition is taking place December 7-10, 2019, in Orlando, Florida, and Pharmacy Times® will be on location delivering coverage.

The largest hematology conference in the world, the ASH Annual Meeting brings together more than 25,000 attendees from more than 115 countries across all hematology specialties. More than 4900 abstracts will be presented, with approximately 1000 oral presentations and 3900 poster presentations on deck.

At this year’s meeting, a number of key themes will take center stage. In a media preview briefing prior to the conference, ASH officials presented on some of the most anticipated areas of focus.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy and beyond

Despite the high potential of CAR T-cell therapy, there have been several drawbacks to this novel therapeutic approach, one of them being the time and expense it takes to generate CAR T cells, Robert A. Brodsky, MD, secretary of ASH, said.

Of note, many of the abstracts will be aimed at overcoming the current obstacles of CAR T-cell therapy. In particular, Brodsky pointed to Abstract 6: Mosunetuzumab Induces Complete Remissions in Poor Prognosis Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients, Including Those Who Are Resistant to or Relapsing After Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell (CAR-T) Therapies, and Is Active in Treatment through Multiple Lines.

“It is an off-the-shelf product,” Brodsky said of mosunetuzumab. “It completely gets around the problem of time to generate the CAR T-cell product.”

Venous thromboembolism

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) remains a significant clinical problem and public health problem that can be associated with significant morbidity and even mortality, Roy L. Silverstein, MD, 2019 president of ASH, said in the presentation. Several abstracts will highlight new research in this area, ranging from VTE in pediatric patients to adding aspirin to direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs).

Abstract 787, which focuses on the impact of adding aspirin to DOAC therapy without an apparent indication, looks at a population of approximately 650 patients in the community setting who are treated appropriately with the DOACs, but also simultaneously were receiving low-dose aspirin.

Sickle Cell Disease

The mutation causing SCD is in the beta chain of the hemoglobin molecule. According to Brodsky, one of the holy grails of research in sickle cell disease (SCD) is reactivating production of fetal hemoglobin, which does not sickle due to the gamma chain.

Abstract 812: Chromatin Accessibility Mapping of Primary Erythroid Cell Populations Leads to Identification and Validation of Nuclear Factor I X (NFIX) As a Novel Fetal Hemoglobin (HbF) Repressor shows particularly exciting research in this development, Brodsky said.

The study authors found a novel, new repressor of gamma globin, known as NFIX. “This is going to be a major drug and genetic target going forward,” Brodsky said.

In addition to these themes, several late-breaking abstracts with practice-changing clinical data results will be presented at the meeting.

These abstracts will cover therapeutic areas such as:

  • B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children and young adults
  • Cold agglutinin disease
  • Oral azacitidine in acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Driver mutations in AML and myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Therapeutic targets in SCD
  • Relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma

Throughout the conference, Pharmacy Times® will be providing real-time updates, featuring session recaps and video interviews with hematology experts on the latest research.