Tuesday, November 30, 2010

San Diego Symposium Brings the Experts to the Patients

Guest post by Ann Brazeau

Keynote speaker Dr. Catriona Jamieson addresses the crowd
The MPD Foundation hosted a patient educational symposium in San Diego on October 25th at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center in La Jolla.  Each speaker commended the attendees for taking an active role in learning about their rare blood cancer and for supporting research and awareness efforts to ensure better treatments and care.  They agreed that patients are key advocates for changing the course of their future. 

There was a brief discussion about why the World Health Organization changed MPD (Myeloproliferative disorders) to MPN (Myeloproleferative neoplasms) and why it was important.  This change clearly specifies and classifies the disease as a blood cancer.   Data is collected and gathered appropriately when a patient is diagnosed.  This change will also ensure payment from insurers who were skeptical about the classification of the disease as a cancer.

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Medicine Hematologic Malignancies Program and Director of Stem Cell Research at UCSD. Dr. Jamieson found that a specific mutation in the JAK2 signaling molecule occurs at the stem cell level in polycythemia and changes cell fate decisions in primitive hematopoietic cells. She discussed the possibility of using combination therapies for MPN patients since one drug may not manage all the symptoms.  Dr. Jamieson has earned great respect in the field and is a committed clinician who sees numerous MPN patients at the center.
Drs. John Crispino and Ross Levine speak to patients

After the presentations patients formed groups specific to their MPN.  A clinician/researcher joined each group and answered questions from individuals.  Patients were able to share their stories and get feedback from the experts and fellow patients.

The MPD Foundation will continue to advance research and bring updates on MPD research to patients.  These sessions are held in order to empower patients and give them the tools to successfully manage their disease.  By assisting primary care physicians, hematologists/oncologists and pathologists in hearing cutting edge information, we better equip them in diagnosing and treating patients, advancing treatment options in their own way.

We extend a special thanks to our sponsors, Incyte Corporation, Sanofi-Aventis and Cytopia/YM Biosciences.

Click here to view a specific speaker or the entire presentation via web cast. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Whirlwind of activity

Wow - is it mid-November already?!  It must be, since we finished hosting our final MPD patient symposium of the year and are starting to think about wrapping up 2010.  We've also finished our review of the grant applications we received for the RFP issued this May.  I say "we", but what I really mean is the panel of experts we bring in to assist us in evaluating proposals on their scientific merit.  

Grant reviewers reviewing proposals in Chicago
Last week we asked 14 experts who specialize in the myeloproliferative disorders to join with our existing Scientific Advisory Board to evaluate the proposals we received in the New Investigator and Established Investigator grant categories.  Though our funding decisions won't be announced until February, we can say that the proposals we received covered new ground in MPD research and we are looking forward excitedly to determining what we can fund in the 2011 grant cycle.       

In addition to this we've also just received our first printing of the Spanish translated MPD brochure.  This is the only informational, free brochure on the myeloproliferative disorders to be translated into Spanish.  After repeated requests from the international and domestic physician community we are so pleased to now have something for both English and Spanish speaking patients!