Stem cell transplant experts gather to honor pioneer Karl Blume

May 10, 2013 | by

Five world-class specialists in stem cell transplantation. One place.

On Thursday, hematology experts from around the country convened at City of Hope to discuss the impact of Karl G. Blume, M.D., the founder of City of Hope’s bone marrow transplant program.

Blume launched the program in 1975, when such procedures were at the forefront of current science, and regarded as novelties in many circles. Today, that program is a world leader in hematopoietic cell transplantation.

City of Hope has now performed more than 11,000 blood and marrow stem cell transplants. Based on a 2012 report from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, City of Hope is the only transplant program in the country to achieve eight consecutive reporting years of “over performance” in one-year overall patient survival.

After launching City of Hope’s program and spending a decade shaping it, Blume moved to Stanford University to establish its bone marrow transplant program.  Along the way, he taught, guided and inspired today’s generation of transplant physicians.

To honor the impact of Blume, who died in January, five of those hematology experts gathered to discuss Blume’s legacy and their own research. They did so at an event named for Gerhard Schmidt, M.D., another formidably legendary researcher – who happened to be a doctoral student of Blume. The latter delivered the Schmidt lecture in 2011.

As of this year, that lecture, viewable above, is known as the Karl G. Blume-Gerhard Schmidt Memorial Lecture in Transplantation Biology & Medicine.

The presenters and their topics:

Nelson J. Chao, M.D., M.B.A., chief of the Division of Cellular Therapy, Cell Therapy & Hematologic Malignancy Program at Duke University School of Medicine: “MicroRNAs as Biomarkers for GVHD.”

Robert S. Negrin, M.D., professor of medicine at Stanford University Medical Center: “GVHD from the Perspective of the T Cell.”

Frederick R. Appelbaum, M.D., member  and director of the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and professor and head of the Division of Medical Oncology: “Simpler and More Accurate Prognostic Testing in Acute Leukemia.”

John A. Zaia, M.D., Aaron D. Miller and Edith Miller Chair in Gene Therapy, chair and professor of the Department of Virology, and professor of pediatrics at City of Hope: “Blood Stem Cell Transplantation for HIV/AIDS: Is this the Future?”

Stephen J. Forman, M.D., Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and chair of City of Hope’s Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation:  “T Cell Engineering to Improve the Graft Versus Leukemia Effect.”

Five world-class specialists in stem cell transplantation. One man’s legacy.