Highlights from the 15th International Symposium on MDS

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Release Date: September 04, 2019
Expiration Date: September 04, 2020

Expected time to complete this activity as designed: 60 minutes

There are no fees for participating in or receiving credit for this online activity.

Program Overview

Four thought leaders in MDS cover select presentations from the 15th International Symposium on MDS. They will share insights on the current standard of care, selecting appropriate strategies for each individual patient, and where checkpoint inhibitors fit into practice. Additionally, participants will hear the status of clinical trials combining hypomethylating agents with immune checkpoint inhibitors in MDS.

Target Audience

This activity is designed for multidisciplinary healthcare providers in the community setting, including hematologists, oncologists, nurses, pharmacists and other allied healthcare professionals who provide care to patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • Summarize the efficacy and safety data from clinical trials investigating novel therapies and treatment strategies in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)
  • Outline clinical trials and recent advances in the management of serious disease-related conditions in MDS
  • Describe expert faculty perspectives on key clinical trial data for novel therapies and treatment strategies in MDS


Clinical Trials of the Combination of Hypomethylating Agents with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Patients with MDS – Guillermo Garcia-Manero, MD
High-Risk MDS: What’s After Aza? – Jean-Pierre Issa, MD
SGI-110 plus Atezolizumab in Relapsed/Refractory MDS – Casey O’Connell, MD, FACP
Bridging the Canyon Between Myelodysplastic Syndromes Discovery and MDS Therapy – David P. Steensma, MD, FACP

Instructions for Participation and Credit

This activity is eligible for credit through September 04, 2020. After this date, this activity will expire and no further credit will be awarded.
1. Read the target audience, learning objectives, and faculty disclosures.
2. You may be asked to complete a short pre-test before accessing the educational content. This must be completed in order to move forward in the activity.
3. Complete the educational content as designed.
4. Complete the post-test. To receive a certificate, you must receive a passing score of 70%.
5. Complete the activity evaluation survey to provide feedback and information useful for future programming.
6. Certificates for CME and CNE may be printed immediately after successfully completing the post-test and activity evaluation. Pharmacist credit will be uploaded to CPE Monitor 4 weeks following receipt of a completed, qualified form.

Faculty Biographies

Guillermo Garcia-Manero, MD
Dr. Kenneth B. McCredie Chair in Clinical Leukemia Research
Chief, Section of Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Department of Leukemia 
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas

Dr. Guillermo Garcia-Manero received his medical degree and training at the University of Zaragoza in Spain and at the Royal Free Hospital in London. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He continued his training with a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at the Cardeza Foundation for Hematology Research, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he served as chief fellow. Dr. Garcia-Manero is currently a Professor in the Department of Leukemia and the Dr. Kenneth B. McCredie Chair in Clinical Leukemia Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He also serves as the Chief of the Section of Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Vice Chairman for Translational Research, Leader of the AML/MDS Moon Shot Program, and Program Director of the Leukemia Fellowship Program.

Dr. Garcia-Manero’s focus is on understanding the cellular and molecular biology of MDS and AML with an aim to improve therapeutic options for these patients. His work has been funded by NIH, DoD, LLS, CPRIT, and the MDS/AML Moon Shot project. He is currently PI/Co-PI on over 25 active AML/MDS clinical trials and has coauthored more than 682 manuscripts. Dr. Garcia-Manero directs one of the largest single institution units for patients with MDS and maintains one of the busiest clinics at MD Anderson. He has trained over 100 fellows and post-doctoral fellows and has been a speaker at multiple national and international forums. He has received numerous awards, including the Otis W. and Pearl L. Walters Faculty Achievement Award in Clinical Research and the Emil J. Freireich Award for Excellence in Translational Research. Dr. Garcia-Manero has also been recognized as one of the Best Doctors in America each year since 2007.

Jean-Pierre Issa, MD
President and CEO
Coriell Institute for Medical Research
Camden, New Jersey

Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut followed by a residency in internal medicine at Good Samaritan Hospital and a fellowship in medical oncology at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center in Baltimore. He was Professor of Medicine and Director, Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology from 2011 to 2019, and is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in Camden, New Jersey.

Dr. Issa’s laboratory has made significant contributions to the understanding of epigenetics in the pathophysiology and treatment of cancer. Starting in 2000, his group initiated laboratory research directed clinical trials that showed that low doses of hypomethylating drugs specifically target DNA methylation and are optimal in the treatment of leukemias. This work contributed to the FDA approval of decitabine in 2006, and led to a large number of epigenetic therapy clinical trials in different malignancies. His current research focuses on mechanisms of epigenetic alterations in aging and cancer, translation of epigenomic studies for precision medicine, development of drugs for reprogramming the epigenome, and clinical trials of epigenetic therapy in cancer.

Dr. Issa’s research has been recognized by several awards including election to the American Association of Physicians and the Temple University Faculty Research Award, among others.

Casey O'Connell, MD, FACP
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California

Dr. Casey O’Connell holds the Lawrence and Janice Kelly Chair in Hematology at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, where she is Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Center for the Study of Blood Diseases.

Dr. O’Connell specializes in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and, in addition to teaching and seeing patients, she runs clinical trials that aim to identify new therapies for patients with these cancers of the bone marrow. She is currently the Principal Investigator of a clinical trial that combines an immune checkpoint inhibitor with a novel hypomethylating agent in an effort to stimulate the immune system in patients with MDS to fight against progression AML. The Phase I results of this trial were presented in abstract form at the 2018 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and an ongoing Phase II study is underway at USC, University of Maryland, and Fox Chase Cancer Center.

As Director of the Gehr CURES Myeloid Malignancy Program at USC, Dr. O’Connell is committed to research that reveals how we might intervene earlier and more effectively to stem the development and progression of myeloid cancers. She and her team are confident that through rigorous and thoughtful scientific collaborations, we can win this fight together with our patients and their families. Dr. O’Connell is proud of her accolades for patient care in Southern California and for teaching in her role as Chair of the Keck School of Medicine Year II Hematology/Immunology course.

David P. Steensma, MD, FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Institute Physician
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. David Steensma received his medical degree from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed an internal medicine residency and a combined hematology-oncology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Institute Physician in the Division of Hematological Malignancies at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, where he co-directs the hematological malignancy precursor clinic. In addition, Dr. Steensma is a consulting physician at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

Following completion of his formal training, Dr. Steensma spent several years as a visiting research scholar in the Molecular Haematology Unit of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, England, investigating the molecular genetics of myelodysplastic syndromes. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine, hematology, and medical oncology. Dr. Steensma has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers, served as editor for several American Society of Hematology (ASH) publications, education co-chair for the ASH Annual Meeting, section editor for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, member of the FDA Oncology Drug Advisory Committee, and on the hematology examination committee of the American Board of Internal Medicine.


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Faculty Disclosures

Dr. Guillermo Garcia-Manero has received honoraria as a consultant from Amphivena Therapeutics, Inc., Astex Pharmaceuticals, and Celgene Corporation. He has received grant support related to research activities from AbbVie Inc., Amphivena, Astex, Celgene, H3 Biomedicine Inc., Helsinn Healthcare SA, Merck & Co., Inc., Novartis AG, and Onconova Therapeutics.

Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa has received honoraria as a consultant from Astex Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Casey O’Connell has received honoraria related to formal advisory activities as well as grant support related to research activities from Astex Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Dr. David Steensma has received honoraria as a consultant from Novartis AG, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., and Sensei Biotherapeutics as well as formal advisory activities from Onconova Therapeutics, PharmaEssentia Corporation, and Takeda Oncology.

Planning Committee Disclosures

The individuals listed below from MediCom Worldwide, Inc. reported the following for this activity: Andrea Mathis, Project Manager, Joan Meyer, RN, MHA, Executive Director, and Bill Stoff, Director of Operations, have no relevant financial relationships.

Peer Reviewer Disclosure

In accordance with MediCom Worldwide, Inc. policy, all content is reviewed by external independent peer reviewers for balance, objectivity and commercial bias. The peer reviewers have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

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Provided by MediCom Worldwide, Inc.
This activity is supported by educational grants from Astex Pharmaceuticals, Celgene Corporation, and Takeda Oncology.

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