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Message from the President - August 2020

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Dear EBMT members, colleagues and friends,

Usually in July and August most of us enjoy our summer holidays travelling with our families or friends or on your own to different countries, to relax on the beach, to play sports or simply to enjoy life and recharge our batteries. This year the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting many holiday plans not only because of existing travel restrictions and the need for social distancing–you have probably seen the pictures of long queues at airports for SARS CoV2 testing or beach-goers wearing masks–and as a result many of us have decided to stay at home or take a stay-cation. It’s striking how social distancing, wearing masks and virtual conferences have become a daily routine and probably some of you–like me–feel uncomfortable about returning to what we once viewed as normal in 2019.

EBMT has further continued to adapt to the crisis and deliver its key activities during the COVID-19 pandemic and we are now close to our first virtual Annual Meeting begining on August 29 to September 1. The EBMT offices and the local organizers have worked extremely hard to make this first virtual annual meeting a success. We are approaching now 6,000 registrations for an outstanding programme and I encourage you to check out the exciting conference agenda on our website since registration is still possible. As a registeree you will have direct access to the presentation on demand until November 1st.

Our e-learning platform has also become a very useful tool for virtual education and numerous webinars for transplant and cellular therapy issues as well as dedicated COVID-19 issues and online courses for physicians and nurses have been performed so far. All of which can be seen at our EBMT website. For example, the CAR-T cell e-course with several modules is accredited by the EBAH-CME credits system and has been completed by more than 1,200 EBMT members so far.

With respect to CAR-T cells, after a short break from the unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic, the collaboration with different stakeholders within the GoCART project with regards to data collection, harmonization and sharing, standardization, education and training as well as regulation will officially and virtually start in September after our virtual Annual Meeting.

To address our commitment to cellular therapy within our society we have already started a discussion regarding renaming our society and modifying our mission and vision. In this process we have included all Board Members, the Working Parties and the Nurses Group, EBMT Staff and also EBMT Members. At the end of this process there was a broad agreement and consensus to keep our name, European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT), but to slightly modify our mission and vision as well as our EBMT logo. The results of this project will be presented during the virtual General Assembly on Tuesday September 1st 2020 from 5.00 to 5.30 PM.

The new mission is:

"We are a community of healthcare professionals focused on innovation, research and the advancement of cellular and stem cell-based therapies to save and improve the lives of patients with blood-related disorders."

The new vision is:

"As one of the leading medical and scientific organisations for cellular and stem cell-based therapies, we aim to be the connection between patients, scientific community and other stakeholders to anticipate the future of our field."

Beside all these positive developments and major achievements of our society in these difficult times, we are also facing some unsolved problems. The major problem we are working to address remains the implementation of the new MACRO software to replace ProMISe as a tool to report data. The correct and complete migration of data from ProMISE to the new system is still not solved and the EBMT Board decided in March to devote more financial and human resources including external advisors into the project. Until the problems are solved, we still have to use ProMISe for the time being to report our transplant and cellular therapy data.

Lastly, I want to remind you to fill out the Patient Engagement Survey because your judgements will be the basis for the forthcoming projects regarding patient engagement within EBMT. For more information, please visit the Patient Engagement Taskforce webpage.

I hope you still have some days left to relax during your holidays, and find some minutes to read the and enjoy the EBMT Newsletter.

Most importantly please stay safe and let’s meet virtually at our Annual meeting from August 29 to September 1.

Nicolaus Kröger, MD
Professor of Medicine
EBMT President