Sunday, December 11, 2011

From the 2011 ASH Annual Meeting - Updates in Hematology Oncology

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is hosting more than 20,000 attendees from around the globe at its 53rd annual meeting December 10-13 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA. Data from more than 4,200 scientific abstracts – representing more than 1,000 oral and 3,000 poster presentations – will reveal the latest research in the field during the meeting.

As usual, the meetings have been full of attendees interested in the latest research and groundbreaking clinical updates. This year, some of the topics that grabbed my attention included an abstract on GVHD and another abstract on VTE:

A new study reveals that peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplants from unrelated donors are associated with higher rates of chronic graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) and have no survival advantage when compared to transplants using stem cells taken from the bone marrow.

“Although PBSCs from related donors have demonstrated clinical benefits, our trial demonstrates that when these stem cells originate from unrelated donors they are not superior to bone marrow stem cells in terms of patient survival, and they increase the risk for chronic GVHD,” said lead author Claudio Anasetti, MD, Chair of the Department of Blood & Marrow Transplant at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. “More effective strategies to prevent GVHD are needed to improve outcomes for all patients receiving unrelated donor transplants.”

This was presented at an abstract titled, "Increased Incidence of Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD) and No Survival Advantage with Filgrastim-Mobilized Peripheral Blood Stem Cells (PBSC) Compared to Bone Marrow (BM) Transplants From Unrelated Donors: Results of Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN) Protocol 0201, a Phase III, Prospective, Randomized Trial."

Also, a new study shows that administering aspirin after standard therapy for venous thromboembolism (VTE) may prevent the recurrence of potentially deadly blood clots.

To assess the efficacy and safety of aspirin for the prevention of VTE recurrence after a conventional course of oral anticoagulation therapy, researchers from several Italian institutions embarked on the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled WARFASA study. The team sought to determine whether low-dose aspirin prevented recurrent symptomatic VTE when given for two years following an initial six to 12 months of warfarin therapy.

“There has been significant debate on whether giving aspirin to a patient who suffers from VTE is beneficial,” said lead study author Cecilia Becattini, MD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine in the Internal and Cardiovascular Medicine and Stroke Unit at the University of Perugia in Italy. “Our study shows that aspirin, a common and low-cost drug found in most medicine cabinets, can be a valid alternative to oral anticoagulants for the extended treatment of VTE.”

This was presented at an abstract titled, "Aspirin After Oral Anticoagulants for Prevention of Recurrence in Patients with Unprovoked Venous Thromboembolism. The WARFASA Study."

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