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By Darren Johnson, PA-C I was in a fog, all I could see was darkness although it was the middle of the day, the blinds were open and all the lights in my room were on. The nurses around me were hectic, moving quickly and clearly with purpose. Beside me, my mom was squeezing a bag of IV fluid. I was just trying to keep up, but I was scared and I couldn’t process all the activity. I gathered every bit of energy and focus I had to ask one question: “Am I going to die today?” “NO!” was the resounding answer from my nursing staff (including my mom) and that was enough for me.I trusted these people and I drifted off. I later awoke in the ICU, but I was feeling ...
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The ASTCT would like to thank Dr. Miguel Perales for all of his work on the ASTCT Practice Guidelines App. Physicians from all over the world are using the app to improve the care provided to transplant patients. The mobile app has been downloaded close to 5,700 times by clinicians in 46 different countries. It was because of Dr. Perales's vision that we were able to launch the app. It is through his efforts, and those of other society volunteers, that we are able to add new tools and information on a regular basis. We also want to thank Seattle Genetics for their continued support of this tool.  Download the app in iTunes:  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/astct-practice-guidelines/id1204871675 ...
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Have you been watching HBO this spring? No we are not talking about Game of Thrones, but something much more pertinent to the cellular transplant community. HBO released a five episode mini-series about the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. If you have not seen it - it's worth watching. It is an accurate and chilling reminder of what can happen as a result of a radiological disaster. In the US since 2001, there has been an intense emphasis on preparing the US for a similar radiological disaster which could result in casualties who could develop Acute Radiation Syndrome and would require care by the members of ASTCT. One organization working to help prepare the nation ...
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We had a major quality incident in June – at our home. It was 9 p.m. on a Wednesday night and we were heading home from Olive Garden after a nice dinner celebrating the last day of school. As my better half was reviewing the schedule for the following day, we realized we had no plan for childcare! We had assumed that our 17-year-old would be available and willing to perform older sisterly duties for a day – that is, keep her two younger brothers safe and fed and prevent a riot by keeping them separated for 10 hours. But she reminded us that she had a full day commitment that Thursday and was not going to be home, and that she had texted us about this a week ...
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ASTCT’s FY2020 IPPS Proposed Rule Response On June 24 th , ASTCT submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) on the FY2020 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) proposed rule. ASTCT’s comments respond to both the proposals put forth by CMS as well as the request for comment on certain items. Some of the recommendations ASTCT made to the agency include: ASTCT supports CMS’ proposal to increase the new technology add-on payment (NTAP) for all new technologies, but recommends that the agency increase the percentage from 50 percent to 80 percent rather than 65 percent as proposed for all NTAPs. ASTCT recommends that ...
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In this month’s Pharmacy SIG Literature Update:  Maintenance therapies for Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphomas, autologous transplantation for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma in the era of novel agents, prophylactic low-dose azacitidine and donor lymphocyte infusions for high-risk acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome and much more! Literature summaries are provided as information only. Please refer to the original published articles for complete details on study methodology, results and discussion. ***        Must read. Landmark publication that affects practice **           Recommend reading. Secondary paper that adds to literature ...
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By Mikaela VanMoorleghem, FACT Education and Training Coordinator FACT Events at ISCT Were a Success! Chrissy Gordon: A Patient Perspective FACT was honored to have its Cellular Therapy and Cord Blood Inspection and Accreditation Workshop in Melbourne, Australia opened by Ms. Chrissy Gordon, a recipient of an unrelated bone marrow transplant in 2000. Chrissy’s inspirational story of diagnosis, treatment, transplant, challenges, and successes over the past twenty years highlighted the importance of continuing to pursue improvements in the quality of patient care and advancing the promising developments in the field of cellular therapy.  Diagnosed ...
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More than 25 years ago, a group of physicians, scientists, clinicians and researchers came together. They had one mission in mind: As blood and marrow transplantation was growing and evolving as a field in the early 1990s, there were growing concerns about how it would be regulated. The FDA had announced its regulatory approach to bone marrow transplantation, and leaders in the field wanted to be ahead of the curve.  “There was a strong belief that the professionals in the field should be setting the standards, not the regulators,” said Dr. Phyllis Warkentin, FACT’s chief medical officer and one of the founding members.  The newly-formed ASBMT (now known as ...
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2019 ASTCT SIG Pharmacy New Investigator Research Award Purpose   The ASTCT Pharmacy New Investigator Award is designed to encourage clinical, laboratory/ translational medicine, pharmacoeconomic, or health services research by young investigators in the field of blood and marrow transplantation.     The award, $25,000 per year for two years, may be used for direct support of research costs and/or to support the investigator’s salary for his or her research effort.     Eligibility   To be eligible for the New Investigator Award, the applicant must be a licensed pharmacist (PharmD) who has completed ≥2 years of postdoctoral ...
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2019 ASTCT SIG Pharmacy New Investigator Research Award Request for Letter of Intent (LOI)   Interested applicants for the ASTCT Pharmacy SIG New Investigator Research Award are required to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI should follow the format below and will serve to permit assessment of eligibility for the award.   Letters of Intent must be received by e-mail to the administrator of the grant, no later than Friday, July 12, 2019 (5:00 pm CST).   Please submit electronically as a single PDF file to Angie Dahl (adahl@astct.org) the Grant Liaison.   ASTCT Pharmacy SIG Research Committee Angie Dahl, Grant Liaison adahl@astct.org ...
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By Mikaela VanMoorleghem, Education and Training Coordinator,  Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy Prepare for the NetCord-FACT International Cord Blood Standards, Seventh Edition By: Andra Moehring, MHA, FACT Standards Development Manager The Seventh Edition NetCord-FACT International Cord Blood Standards for Collection, Banking, and Release for Administration  will be published on October 15, 2019 and will become effective on January 15, 2020. Programs currently pursuing renewal or initial accreditation under the Sixth Edition Standards must remain mindful of these dates and ensure timely submission of pre-inspection materials ...
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In this month’s Pharmacy SIG Literature Update: ASTCT consensus grading for CRS and neurologic toxicity, reduced intensity conditioning with fludarabine, melphalan, and total body irradiation, oral versus aerosolized ribavirin for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus infections and much more! Literature summaries are provided as information only. Please refer to the original published articles for complete details on study methodology, results and discussion. ***        Must read. Landmark publication that affects practice **           Recommend reading. Secondary paper that adds to literature *             Consider reading. Cursory importance ...
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On April 23, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) released the FY2020 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) proposed rule.  The IPPS rule addresses ways to improve payment for CAR-T therapies and is a step in the right direction. The American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT) has been working closely with CMS to improve reimbursement for chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy to ensure appropriate patient access to this lifesaving therapy and will continue to work with the agency on this important issue.  In the proposed rule, CMS indicates that the agency should collect more clinical data prior to creating a ...
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Earlier in May, I finally caught up with The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part . Personally, I liked the first Lego movie better. Irrespective, the theme song for both movies is “Everything is Awesome” and it got firmly stuck in my head – like CXCR4 sticks to hematopoietic stem cells, though sadly I don’t have a "plerixafor” to "unstick" the song from my grey matter! The protagonist of the movies is Emmet Brickowski (get it – from Lego ‘Brick…’) who is always upbeat irrespective of what the world throws at him. Having the song loop in my head has definitely elevated my outlook to life and I am now among the converted who believe in "think positive ...
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Growing up, Damiano Rondelli didn’t want to be a doctor. In fact, he hated the sight of blood. Born in Italy, Rondelli had other plans—he wanted to be an ambassador, traveling the world to try and fix problems that affected people of all walks of life. “I wanted to talk to people and work together,” he said. “The world was my country.” What he didn’t know then was that in his own way he would become an ambassador to the world. Rondelli is the division chief of hematology/oncology and the director of BMT at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. He is also the chair of  ASTCT’s Committee on International Affairs, which was established ...
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By Jodi Skiles, MD, MS, Indiana University School of Medicine I saw the advertisement for the ASTCT Leadership Course in the weekly newsletter. Intrigued, I clicked on the link to find a brief description of the course inviting young leaders to apply. I remember thinking that it sounded interesting and thought about applying, but wasn’t sure if it would be a fruitful use of time, especially when time is such a precious commodity. Nonetheless, I (somewhat skeptically) applied. When I was notified a few weeks later that I had been selected to participate in the course, I was honored and my mentors were thrilled, but I still had no idea what to expect. Fast ...
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I have a confession to share – I enjoy being on "service!" I always look forward to my two-week rotation on our inpatient BMT unit. I get to spend more time with our patients. Each patient room provides a glimpse into their lives – the photo of their favorite pet, the book they are reading, the guardian teddy bear from their grandchild, the rosary they clutch when I enter the room, and the progress they have made on a puzzle that tells me how their previous 24 hours have transpired. Equally informative are the bare walls and empty window shelves for some patients, with no get well soon cards and no scribbles on the whiteboard. I get to see our awesome team ...
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Mikaela VanMoorleghem, Education and Training Coordinator Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy Trending Clinical Outcomes By: Kara Wacker, MBA, FACT Strategic Planning Administrator Clinical outcome analysis might have started gaining renewed attention in recent years, but FACT has required such analysis since its first Standards in 1996. This puts the HPC transplant field at an advantage as more stakeholders and patients are evaluating health care institutions in the context of actual clinical outcomes. Transplant programs that have voluntarily complied with FACT Standards over the years have outcome data that can be useful ...
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In this month’s Pharmacy SIG Literature Update: Updates on the role of upfront transplantation in patients with high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome and secondary acute myelogenous leukemia, prevention and treatment of GVHD, and much more! Literature summaries are provided as information only. Please refer to the original published articles for complete details on study methodology, results and discussion. ***        Must read. Landmark publication that affects practice **           Recommend reading. Secondary paper that adds to literature *             Consider reading. Cursory importance to the practice Allogeneic Transplantation * Chamoun ...
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Michele Brown had just gotten out of a session at the TCT Meetings of ASBMT and CIBMTR when something in the program caught her eye. It was the second year the BMT RN clinical quality improvement coordinator from New York had attended the meetings. As a session she attended came to a close, she saw an oral abstract presentation was just about to start. She took a seat, listened as Ann Leen, PhD, presented her research on a clinical trial she helped conduct at The Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine. It used a unique type of cellular therapy to help some patients with Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After Leen finished, she ...
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