Report written by Dr. Patrick Hayden, Secretary CMWP, Department of Hematology, Trinity College Dublin, St. James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
Although we had hoped to meet in person in Milan in January 2022, the arrival of Omicron led to a change of plan and the CMWP Scientific and Educational meeting took place virtually on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th January. As usual, the six subcommittee chairs (MDS, MPN, Plasma Cell Diseases, CML, CLL, and Practice Harmonisation and Guidelines) provided an overview of ongoing studies and new proposals on Friday. Johannes Schetelig and Carina Gross, senior Registry Data Management & QA Coordinator, gave a very helpful overview of the ongoing revision of the Data collection forms and the work underway to advance migration of the registry to a new platform. This is a crucial initiative to ensure that we continue to collect the most relevant clinical and molecular data on the diseases covered in our Working Party.
On Saturday, there was an extensive educational programme which started at 9.00am and continued until 2.30pm. We felt that attendees might benefit from a focused update on transplant-related presentations from the American Society of Haematology meeting in Atlanta in December 2021. Four of the educational sessions therefore started with ASH 2021 updates in which the speakers gave a brief overview of the abstracts they considered most relevant to our current and future studies.
The MPN session was chaired by Tomasz Czerw (Gliwice) and there was a debate as to whether 70 years is an appropriate upper age limit for allogeneic transplantation in Myelofibrosis. Juan Carlos Hernández (Valencia) spoke in favour of the motion and Nicola Polverelli (Brescia) against. In the second session on Myeloma, Patrick Hayden (Dublin) gave the ASH update and there was then a debate on whether myeloma is now a curable disease, always a contentious topic. Roberto Mina (Milan) kindly agreed to speak to the motion and Meral Beksac (Ankara) spoke against. Following a mid-morning coffee break, our chair, Ibrahim Yakoub-Agha (Lille) walked us through a selection of ASH presentations on MDS and CMML. There was then a debate on whether we should offer allogeneic transplants to MDS patients with high risk cytogenetic abnormalities. Theo de Witte (Nijmegen) spoke in favour and Xavier Poire (Louvain) against.
We retreated from our screens for a 30 minute lunch break before returning for the afternoon talks. Following the success of the well-received session on Statistical Analysis at the autumn meeting, Luuk Gras (Leiden) gave a lucid presentation on ‘Testing for equivalence or non-inferiority’ in statistical studies. This session once again highlighted the key statistical concepts underlying our studies. The last session was on Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia (CMML). Francesco Onida (Milan) provided the ASH update following which there was a controversial debate on whether we should offer allogeneic transplants to patients with CMML. Theo de Witte spoke in favour and Raphael Itzykson (Paris) against the motion.
Ibrahim thanked all the participants and brought to a close a stimulating day of transplant-focused debate. As I write this report in February, there is guarded optimism that we may be emerging from the latest wave of the pandemic and tentative signs that we may all be able to meet again in person at the next EBMT Annual Meeting in Prague in March.