As a medical student, I had an amazing opportunity to present a case at EBMT Transplant Complications Working Party Meeting in Berlin last week. It was truly a great experience for me. I want to share details of this experience with the hopes of helping students and residents with whom we share the same excitement.
I fell in love with hematology in my second year of medical school and for the last two years, I am very interested in bone marrow transplantation and cellular therapies. I was generally reading new articles but I didn’t have detailed knowledge about the current state of bone marrow transplantation and the management of its complications of it. I learned lots of things during the meeting about the current and future of bone marrow transplantation, CAR-T, and graft versus host disease.
Berlin… Well no need to say many things about it (refer to the big smile in pictures 😊)
But, How Did I Come?
One day I saw that Dr. Nico Gagelmann followed me on Twitter and I immediately followed back and saw that he is the co-chair of EBMT Trainees. Previously I joined ASCO and AACR and benefited a lot from their student and resident sub-committees. Just being part of this committee would have been nice and I was sure that I would learn many things along the way. I messaged Dr. Nico about joining EBMT Trainees and we had a meeting with him and Dr. Claire Horgan, co-chair of EBMT Trainees. After I told them about a study idea and asked if it was possible to do it within EBMT they mentioned this meeting in Berlin and supported me. I managed to prepare a case in a couple of days thanks to Dr. Selami Koçak Toprak and submitted it. I was very happy to receive the acceptance mail.
It is very important to surround ourselves with people that support us and cares about us. I was lucky to do an internship at Ankara University School of Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Toprak but another important thing is that I kept in touch with him since. Dr. Nico and Dr. Claire were very kind to mention this opportunity and very grateful to them for this.
If you are interested in hematology and bone marrow transplantation, don’t hesitate to contact with EBMT Trainees, and don’t forget to follow them!
We had a patient with Mycosis Fungoides and Sezary Syndrome. Our patient developed grade II GvHD after allogenic transplantation but was successfully treated with steroids. Six months later our patient was admitted to our clinic again but this time she had grade IV gastrointestinal and grade II skin GvHD. We started on ruxolitinib but it wasn’t enough. Additional to standard treatments we used 4 cycles of mesenchymal stem cells and alpha-1 antitrypsin. After the second alpha-1 antitrypsin, our patient wasn’t experiencing any GvHD symptoms and we were able to discharge her. Our patient is medically well and improving psychologically. Link to our abstract: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/364122461_Additional_Mesenchymal_Stem_Cell_Transplantation_and_Alpha-1_Antitrypsin_In_GvHD_Management
The first day started with the business meeting. Ongoing projects and future projects were discussed. It was nice to see how people conduct EBMT studies.
As I said before I learned many things during this meeting. Also, I had a chance to look at things from a different perspective thanks to the patient advocates.
At the end of every session a case was presented by young hematologists and me 😊 The First case was about the veno-occlusive disease (VOD) in a pediatric patient. Management of VOD was discussed nicely. Also, the structure of the presentation was beautiful, I took photos of it and will check them while preparing my slides in the future.
My case presentation was at the second session. I was pretty nervous before it but after starting the presentation I was relieved. The main reason for this was probably the very welcoming environment of the meeting. Just before my presentation chairs of our session congratulated me and assured me that if I get difficult questions they would help. This was just great.
In the next session, Dr. Zina, Dr. Helene, and patient representative Elke Stienissen talked about the late effects of transplantation. This helped me to see things differently. While this process is unique for the patient, it may become ordinary for the doctor after some time. We should remind ourselves of the uniqueness of every patient once in a while.
At the last session of the meeting two very interesting topics, AI and fecal microbiota transplantation were discussed. The future of hematology is exciting and I am looking forward to it!