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Leukemia, Other Blood Diseases the Focus of Research Conference

The group, which includes scientists specializing in blood-related diseases from Indiana and nearby states, will gather at a downtown hotel today and on the Indiana University School of Medicine campus on Friday to compare research notes and listen to several speakers.

Noted hematology researcher Ken Kaushansky, M.D., of the University of California, San Diego, will discuss the 16 years of research starting with his discovery – cloning – of the gene for the key protein thrombopoieten until the present, when compounds based on that discovery are about to enter clinical use.

Conference organizers Nadia Carlesso, M.D., Ph.D., and Becky Chan, M.D., Ph.D., both assistant professors of pediatrics and researchers at the Wells Center for Pediatric Research, agreed that Dr. Kaushansky’s experience demonstrates how a basic discovery in molecular biology can lead to important new treatments for patients – and how long that process can take.

Other speakers will include Giuseppina Nucifora, Ph.D., professor of medicine at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and John Thomas, program officer at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Since 2003 the annual Midwest Blood Club Symposium has fostered greater communication among hematology/oncology investigators in Indiana and nearby states by creating a forum where researchers can meet and share ideas and data on stem cell biology, transplantation, cell/gene therapy, leukemogenesis, and immunotherapy.

The first day of the conference is being held at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel. The second day will be held at Joseph Walther Hall at the IU School of Medicine on the campus of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.