SOHO Annual Meeting Advances the Field of Hematologic Oncology Worldwide

By Jennifer R. Brown, MD, PhD - Last Updated: August 15, 2023

The Society of Hematologic Oncology (SOHO) Annual Meeting is a unique opportunity to hear updates on all hematologic malignancies in a concise format. Over the years, I have had the privilege of participating as a speaker, and I believe attending the event is a must for clinicians who want to learn about the latest advances in hematologic oncology.

I have always found the sessions to be informative and engaging, as they are carefully crafted to encourage thought-provoking discussions and a fresh approach. It is truly remarkable to hear what fellow experts have to say, not just in my specific area of disease but across various disease domains.

The appeal of the SOHO meeting lies in its collaborative environment and ability to provide succinct updates on all hematologic malignancies in just a few days.

There are several reasons I encourage clinicians to attend the meeting. For one, it offers a stage where we can engage in vigorous debates and arguments about the best treatment options. The sessions present cutting-edge science and results from trials, bridging the gap between research and real-world applications. This information is particularly valuable for clinicians who strive to apply the latest findings in their practice. Additionally, the smaller sessions provide ample opportunities for questions and answers, allowing us to connect with experts and delve deeper into specific topics.

This year, I had the honor of selecting personalized medicine as the theme of the 11th annual meeting. This topic has been a long-standing interest of mine, particularly in relation to genomics in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and its application in the clinic. What makes CLL unique is that most of the relevant pathways for targeted therapies are active in all patients, regardless of specific mutations. This trait defied our initial assumptions and sets CLL apart from other diseases, such as acute myeloid leukemia, which has targeted inhibitors against specific mutations.

I would also like to highlight SOHO’s global outreach efforts. The Society has made it a priority to expand internationally by providing funding for individuals to attend the annual meeting and encouraging local hematologists to play an active role in planning satellite meetings as part of the SOHO Ambassador Program. This approach has been well-received by international clinicians, empowering them to organize their own meetings and contribute to the field’s collective knowledge.

SOHO’s commendable dedication to global learning aligns with our collective efforts as clinicians and researchers to improve worldwide access to therapies and knowledge. Through its education program, SOHO advocates for enhanced insight and global access to new therapies. While these treatments are more readily available in the United States, their availability around the world is not as widespread. The goal is to bridge this gap, ensuring that patients worldwide can benefit from these medical advancements.

In closing, I urge all clinicians to mark their calendars for the annual meeting, as it represents an invaluable opportunity to expand our knowledge, engage in stimulating discussions, and collectively strive for advancements in the field of hematologic oncology.

Jennifer Brown, MD, PhD, is the Director of the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Worthington and Margaret Collette Professor of Medicine in the Field of Hematologic Oncology at Harvard Medical School. She is also President of the Society of Hematologic Oncology.

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