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50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology Will Feature Breakthrough Research in Blood Diseases

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Society of Hematology (ASH), the world's largest professional association of blood specialists, expects more than 20,000 attendees at the 50th ASH Annual Meeting from December 6-9, 2008, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. The meeting will showcase the latest research and treatments for blood disorders. In honor of the Society's golden anniversary, there will also be several special programs including a unique video project featuring influential figures in hematology.

"It is my distinct honor to serve as President during this celebratory year in the Society's history. The ASH annual meeting continues to be the premier forum for physicians and researchers from around the world to hear the most up-to-date developments in hematology, and this year will be no exception," said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, 2008 ASH President, and Helen M. Ranney Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. "In addition to presenting research that affects hematologists in every area of the discipline, this year's meeting underscores 50 years of unprecedented growth and advancement in the field."

Highlights of the meeting include special symposia, education programs, special interest seminars, and scientific sessions. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the meeting will also feature historical displays showcasing major scientific discoveries and clinical advances in the specialty. Several world-renowned scientists will share their life stories and speak about groundbreaking medical discoveries during the Pioneers in Hematology sessions.

The Special Symposium on the Basic Science of Hemostasis and Thrombosis will provide an opportunity for communication among scientists in the field and focus on the most important basic science contributions from 2008 to each of the three major areas of the field: thrombosis, blood coagulation and fibrinolysis, and platelet biology. In September, the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Deep-Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism encouraged public awareness of this blood condition that affects nearly 1 million Americans each year. The symposium will take place on Tuesday, December 9, from 7:30 - 9:00 a.m. PST.

This year's Practice Forum, "The Patient, the Hematologist, and the Unexpected," will focus on two areas of unexpected results encountered commonly enough to raise the interest of the hematology community. Additionally, this session will look at the public policy environment that will shape the practice of hematology and the Society as it enters its 51st year. This event will take place Saturday, December 6, from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Another highlight of the meeting is the Presidential Symposium, which will focus on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These cells are known for their role in the cure of a variety of diseases as well as for providing an understanding of stem cell development in all mammalian biology. During the symposium on Tuesday, December 9, from 9:45 - 11:45 a.m., three eminent investigators who have made significant contributions to our understanding of HSC biology will discuss the properties of these cells and their role in the human body.

Neal S. Young, MD, of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, will discuss the pathophysiology of bone marrow failure and how clinical observations of patients with this disease have provided insights into the biology of autoimmunity, viral pathogenesis, and cancer at this year's E. Donnall Thomas Lecture on Monday, December 8, from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.Bob Lowenberg, MD, Ph.D., of the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, will give the Ham-Wasserman Lecture on Saturday, December 6, from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Dr. Lowenberg's lecture will focus on the numerous genetic abnormalities found in acute myeloid leukemia patients and ways to use this information to develop individualized therapies. Both the E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and the Ham-Wasserman Lecture represent areas of medicine that have evolved immensely over the last 50 years.

This year's plenary policy forum, "50 Years of Progress in Hematology," which is co-sponsored by ASH and the European Hematology Association, will feature Nobel Prize winner Peter Agre, MD, who will discuss how his research on water channels in red blood cells, as well as the research of others that originated in hematology, grew to have profound and catalytic influences on numerous areas of science.

For the complete annual meeting program and abstracts, visit

The American Society of Hematology ( is the world's largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems, by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. In September, ASH launched Blood: The Vital Connection (,a credible online resource addressing bleeding and clotting disorders, anemia, and cancer. It provides hematologist-approved information about these common blood disorders including risk factors, preventive measures, and treatment options. A cornerstone of this public awareness campaign is a new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Joseph Lovett called "Blood Detectives," which will air on the Discovery Health cable network on December 19, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT and again at 12:00 midnight. The show focuses on hematologists as they work to unravel medical mysteries and save lives.

SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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