2012 Scientific Symposium | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

2012 Scientific Symposium

2012 Bone Marrow Failure Disease Scientific Symposium

Every two years, AA&MDSIF brings together experts from around the world who are treating bone marrow failure diseases or studying the immunology and cell biology of these diseases.

Comments from 2012 Symposium Participants

"This meeting is an opportunity for world leaders in MDS to get together in a much more intimate setting than most large conferences can afford."

"Great science, unbiased, noncommercial. Great venue. Good timing (doesn't conflict with other meetings)."

"I love that you support junior faculty and encourage them to attend the meeting. Arguably, they (me) get most out of attending."


More than 100 researchers from around the world gathered on March 22nd and 23rd for the third Bone Marrow Failure Disease Scientific Symposium in Bethesda, Maryland. Experts joined with young investigators to learn about the key areas of current research and to explore the most promising directions for the future. 

Symposium Co-Chair, Neal Young, MD, of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at NIH noted that,  "It was a conference of extraordinary science and enthusiasm. Excellent basic science and major new advances in clinical care were presented by the world's experts. The lively and close interactions of the participants were especially valuable in fostering future work and encouraging young investigators. I think the best bone marrow failure conference ever!"

Read day 1 and day 2 summaries.

Highlights included:

  • New discoveries of genetic mutations in MDS that may lead to better diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment
  • Advances in hematopoetic cell transplantation for bone marrow failure diseases
  • New drugs and drug combinations currently in clinical trials
  • Developing treatment options for aplastic anemia, MDS, and PNH

peer supportAA&MDSIF will publish a Symposium Summary for Patients in both print and online formats. This publication will include a summary of the symposium presentations written in lay language, with emphasis on what the research means for patients.

Several speakers were also interviewed at the symposium to provide highlights of their presentations and discussions of important progress in bone marrow failure disease research. Some of these will be available soon for patients on our Online Learning Center, while others are intended for health care providers seeking updates on bone marrow failure disease research.

Grant RecipientsSeveral current and former AA&MDSIF research grantees participated in the symposium as speakers and as poster presenters. Matthew Walter, MD of Washington University in St. Louis, a 2005 AA&MDSIF grantee, credited his grant from AA&MDSIF as the start of his research into the genomics of MDS.  Dr. Walter and his colleagues recently published the results of their significant work in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Watch Dr. Walter's interview.

Lisa Minter, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, received two research grants from AA&MDSIF that “made her career” in studying aplastic anemia. In addition to being a rising young investigator in bone marrow failure disease, Dr. Minter lost a daughter to aplastic anemia several years ago and is absolutely committed to studying this disease and to the mission of AA&MDSIF.

Watch Dr. Minter's interview.

peer support

AA&MDSIF also provided several young investigators with travel support which enabled them to attend the meeting and meet with international experts. Their participation in the symposium encourages their continued pursuit of research in bone marrow failure disease and provides access to international leaders in the field. 

The Scientific Symposium was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Office of Rare Disease Research of the National Institutes of Health, several pharmaceutical companies, and the Edward P. Evans Foundation.