Dear EBMT members, friends and colleagues,
At the start of 2020 when the first cases of a new Coronavirus were being reported from China, few could have imagined the profound effect of the emerging global pandemic on society and its ramifications for patients with blood cancers. Despite the many challenges we have all experienced, the EBMT community has responded with admirability. Demonstrating both a tireless commitment to our patients as well as an endless creativity and academic endeavour.
The 2nd European CAR-T Cell Meeting organized together with EHA in Sitges/Spain with more than 1000 attendees at the start of 2020 now seems a distant memory. Yet, as we now approach the end of the year, I realise that 2020 has been more than another exciting year for the EBMT, memorable for a wide range of very significant developments and achievements despite COVID-19.
The rapid change to virtual meetings, conferences and educational events has not negatively influenced us but rather accelerated the high level activity and productivity of our society. Our Working Parties have performed numerous high level virtual educational events including the mid-size event on non-malignant diseases and the International Transplant Course (ITC). Our established E-learning platform has become an extremely helpful tool during this pandemic where numerous informative webinars and courses were provided by EBMT alone or in collaboration with WDMA, EHA or ASTCT. Our regularly updated recommendations for COVID-19 lead by the Infectious Disease Working Party have become a instrumentally helpful guide through this pandemic. Our postponed and for the first time ever completely virtual Annual Meeting of our society was very successful this year with more than 6,000 attendees attending from all parts of the world.
In 2020, we also updated our Mission and Vision and designed a new EBMT logo. We continued moving our professionalism forward and while on our way to improving our structures, we implemented a new Medical Officer position within our society and with Isabel Sanchez-Ortega we hired a very competent person.
Then we launched the GoCART Coalition together with EHA and other stakeholders to promote patient access to novel therapies and foster multi-stakeholder collaboration regarding centre qualification, education and clinical data reporting.
In addition, another milestone for our society in 2020 was the launch of the EBMT Foundation Office in Shanghai, China which will be a platform for scientific and educational exchange and training with the Chinese Society of Hematology.
As you can see, despite the ongoing pandemic in which many of us have lost relatives, friends or loved ones, we can be proud of the wonderful achievements of our Society in 2020.
Now that some (in the U.K.) have already benefited from the COVID-19 vaccine there is hope for a better 2021.
At a personal level I want take this opportunity to thank hard working friends and colleagues who have done so much to keep the flame of clincial and academic excellence alive to the benefit of our patients. Many thanks should also go to all of our extended transplant teams who have worked so tirelessly for their patients. I sincerley hope you all will find some rest and time during this year's (different) holiday season with your families and your loved ones.
On behalf of our EBMT society, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.