Tip Sheet: Johns Hopkins Researchers Present at Hematology Meeting


What: 60th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition
When: December 1–4, 2018
Where: San Diego Convention Center, 111 W Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101

Genetic Screening and Counseling for Sickle Cell Trait

When: Saturday, Dec. 1, 2–3:30 p.m. PST (5-6:30 p.m. EST); Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, 10:30 a.m.–noon PST (1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m EST)
Where: Ballroom 20D
Program: Education Program

Session: Sickle Cell Disease: New Frontiers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sickle cell trait affects 3 million Americans and is most prevalent in African-Americans. People with sickle cell trait are at higher risk of having medical complications, indicating a need for reproductive counseling. Since there aren’t available guidelines on how best to educate people with sickle cell trait, Rakhi Naik, M.D., M.H.S., associate director for hematology for the hematology/oncology fellowship program and assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will propose counseling recommendations, including notifying carriers through newborn screening, prepregnancy counseling and postconception counseling.

A person can inherit the sickle cell gene variant from each parent. Those with two copies will develop sickle cell disease. Those with one copy won’t have the disease but will carry the sickle cell trait. The trait can be passed on to the next generations and may result in a child with sickle cell disease.

Naik will discuss complications of sickle cell trait and the potential modifying genetic and environmental factors. These complications include rare conditions such as muscle breakdown with extreme exercise, and common complications such as chronic kidney disease and blood clots. She will also highlight current achievements in precision medicine including new technology such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and how we should use these to enable earlier notification and counseling.

Men More Likely to Die From Certain Blood Cancers Than Women

When: Saturday, Dec. 1, 6:15–8:15 p.m. PST (9:15 p.m.-11:15 p.m. EST)
Where: Hall GH (San Diego Convention Center)
Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts

Session: 634. Myeloproliferative Syndromes: Clinical: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Adult, Diseases, Elderly, MPN, Young Adult, Study Population, Clinically relevant, Myeloid Malignancies

Blood cancers progress differently with everyone, and for some patients, they could lead to death faster if not treated properly. Johns Hopkins researchers, including clinical fellow Theodoros Karantanos, M.D., Ph.D., in the Department of Oncology Hematologic Malignancies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found that men and women were at different risks of developing different types of blood cancers and varied in disease outcomes such as survival and disease progression rates. The researchers say that predicting disease development is important for informing treatment decisions that can help save more lives.

The blood cancers studied, myeloproliferative neoplasms, are caused by genetic mutations, in which the body makes too many white or red blood cells, or platelets.

In their study, the researchers followed 630 patients from 2005 to 2015, including 246 men and 384 women, and evaluated their disease status over time. The results showed that the disease advanced faster in men, and men had 63 percent higher risk of dying from myeloproliferative neoplasms compared with women patients. This research showed the distinct biology of these blood cancers between men and women, and indicates the need for more aggressive treatment for men with these cancers. 

Myeloproliferative neoplasms are chronic disorders that could remain stable for years in some patients while progressing relatively quickly in others. Symptoms include headaches, fatigue and high blood pressure. The disease can cause excess bleeding and blood clots, and lead to death.

How to Reduce Risk of Developing Blood Clots During Pregnancy

When: Monday, Dec. 3, 6–8 p.m. PST (9-11 p.m. EST)
Where: Hall GH (San Diego Convention Center)
Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts

Session: 331. Pathophysiology of Thrombosis: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Diseases, Adult, Bleeding and clotting, Thrombosis, Pregnancy, Study Population, Thromboembolism, Clinically relevant, Thrombotic Disorders

Blood clots affect one in 500 to one in 2,000 pregnancies and can lead to maternal deaths. Although pregnancy puts women at higher risk of developing blood clots, other factors make some pregnant women more vulnerable. To understand the modifiable factors that could reduce the risk of developing blood clots in veins for pregnant women, Shruti Chaturvedi, M.B.B.S., M.S., assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, conducted a large population study with 816 women, 251 of whom had pregnancy-associated blood clots and 565 who didn’t. The results showed that maternal obesity, smoking and chronic high blood pressure increased a woman’s risk of developing blood clots. Chaturvedi suggests addressing these modifiable risk factors prior to conception to reduce the risk of developing blood clots during pregnancy.

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center Experts Attend American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting

The 60th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting will provide an opportunity to hear about the hottest topics in hematology. Experts from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins University will be presenting their latest work and answering questions about how their research is breaking new ground in the battle against blood cancers and sickle cell disease.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the first haploidentical transplant for sickle cell anemia, a procedure pioneered by Kimmel Cancer Center investigators led by Richard Jones, M.D., director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program and co-director of the Hematologic Malignancies Program at the Kimmel Cancer Center. This research makes it possible for almost any patient who needs a bone marrow transplant by opening the field of potential donors using the half-identical transplant method.

Since developing the treatment a decade ago, Kimmel Cancer Center experts have performed more than 600 half-matched transplants for adult and pediatric leukemia and lymphoma as well as chronic but debilitating noncancerous diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and severe autoimmune disorders.

And the work continues.

A newly proposed study involving Kimmel Cancer Center researchers hopes to find a new way to identify, screen, and track people at high risk of developing multiple myeloma. Still in its early stages, the PROMISE study, funded by Stand Up 2 Cancer, will explore using a simple blood test to detect a precursor condition of multiple myeloma earlier so the disease can be possibly be treated before it spreads.

Ivan Borrello, M.D., director of the Cell Therapy and cGMP Biologics Core for the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and a member of the Hematologic Malignancies and Bone Marrow Translational Program, said the advanced screening test could ultimately lead to improved cure rates for the disease.

Other Kimmel Cancer Center researchers are also involved in research in leukemia (Douglas Smith, M.D.; Mark Levis, M.D., Ph.D.), lymphoma (Richard Ambinder, M.D., Ph.D.) and pediatric oncology (Kenneth Cooke, M.D.) and are ready to talk about their field.

Several researchers will be giving talks during the ASH conference, highlighting their work. The schedule of Johns Hopkins speakers is listed:

  • Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) 2019: State of the Art/Dec. 1 at 9:30 a.m. PST (12:30 p.m. EST); Dec. 2 at 7:30 a.m. PST (10:30 a.m. EST)/Shruti Chaturvedi, M.B.B.S, M.S.
  • Sickle Cell Disease: New Frontiers/Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. PST (5 p.m. EST); Dec. 3 at 10:30 a.m. PST (1:30 p.m. EST)/Rakhi Naik, M.D., M.H.S.
  • The Molecular Maelstrom of Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)/Dec. 1 at 4 p.m. PST (7 p.m. EST); Dec. 2 at 9:30 a.m. PST (12:30 p.m. EST)/Amy DeZern, M.D, M.H.S.
  • Hemolytic Anemia: A Cornucopia of Causes/Dec. 2 at 7:30 a.m. PST (10:30 a.m. EST); Dec. 3 at 10:30 a.m. (1:30 p.m. EST)/Robert Brodsky, M.D..

In addition to these sessions, oral and poster presentations by Johns Hopkins researchers will take place. Details about each presentation can be found on the ASH conference website.

Among those presentations, a first-of-its-kind phase I trial, led by Ivana Gojo, M.D., will test the safety of combining blinatumomab, an immunotherapy drug, with immune checkpoint inhibitors to hopefully improve the long term survival rate of adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia.