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 (Myeloproliferative 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.

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.

Author: Michelle Woehrle

Michelle Woehrle joined the MPN Research Foundation in 2007 after being inspired by their mission to fund research that will improve the lives of people living with the rare blood cancers PV, ET and MF. In 2015 she was promoted to Executive Director. She has assisted with the expansion of the grants program, grassroots initiatives to connect with more patients internationally and optimize operations for the Foundation.

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