Monday, 19 December 2016

Monash Haematology research recognised at HAA

Associate Professor Wood
delivering the Ruth Sanger Oration
Research at Monash Haematology was recognised and awarded at the HAA Annual Scientific Meeting in Melbourne last month, attended by around 1500 national and international delegates.

The event is the combined scientific meeting of the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ), Australian and New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion (ANZSBT) and the Australasian Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

The prestigious Ruth Sanger Oration was awarded to Associate Professor Erica Wood, Monash Health haematologist and Head of Monash University’s Transfusion Research Unit. The award is the highest honour of the ANZSBT made in recognition of a significant contribution to the field of transfusion medicine.

Associate Professor Wood was recognised for her research, teaching, service to the ANZSBT and international work.

“It was a great honour to receive the award and deliver the Ruth Sanger Oration,” said Associate Professor Wood.  “My oration focussed on the role of haemovigilance systems in improving the safety of clinical transfusion in our region and internationally.”

“While our blood supplies in Australia and New Zealand are very safe, we still have a lot of work to do about how we use blood in our hospitals – human error is responsible for many of the serious adverse events related to transfusion,” said Associate Professor Wood.

Associate Professor Wood is a member of the World Health Organization expert advisory panel on transfusion medicine, Vice-President of the International Society of Blood Transfusion, and President of the International Haemovigilance Network. In these roles she has worked for more than 20 years to improve blood safety nationally and internationally. 

“We are privileged to have a transfusion expert of Associate Professor Wood’s calibre and international reputation championing patient blood management at Monash Health,” said Associate Professor Jake Shortt, Group leader at the Monash Health Translation Precinct.

Monash Health haematologist and Monash University PhD student Dr Ashwini Bennett received the HSANZ New Investigator scholarship. This highly competitive award of $60,000 enables Dr Bennett to continue her PhD at Monash Health and Monash University, where she is investigating novel markers of thrombosis.

Other recognition included an oral presentation by Monash Health haematologist Dr Sumita Ratnasingam, whose research focuses on mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

Dr Ratnasingam’s study compared the safety and efficacy of first line immunochemotherapy (ICT) regimens in treating elderly patients with MCL.

“MCL accounts for 6% of all non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is a fairly aggressive disease with an expected survival of less than five years,” said Dr Ratnasingam.

“Despite the median age of diagnosis being 60-70 years, there is a paucity of treatment guidelines or clinical trials for elderly MCL to guide our management, resulting in varied treatment strategies and outcomes.”

Dr Ratnasingam undertook a retrospective audit of elderly MCL (elderly defined as age 60 or above) patients in four Victorian tertiary hospitals. The results confirm that typical older patients with MCL benefit from the same therapies normally reserved for younger patients.

Monash clinicians and researchers had 20 abstracts accepted for oral and poster presentations at the Annual Scientific Meeting.    

Monash University’s Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor Stephen Opat is the current President of the HSANZ and was the convenor of the meeting and chair of the local organising committee with many other Monash Haematology staff members, including Associate Professor Shortt, Associate Professor Wood and Dr Zane Kaplan.

An overview of Associate Professor Wood’s lecture can be found here:

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