ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In recognition of the first-ever GVHD (graft-versus-host disease) Day, the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT), a member of the GVHD Alliance, is proud to announce Steven Pavletic, MD, MS, as the inaugural recipient of the Lukas D. Wartman GVHD Achievement Award.
The GVHD Achievement Award is named in honor of Lukas Wartman, MD, a top oncologist who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in 2003 and developed chronic GVHD following two bone marrow transplants. Despite his challenging condition, he continues to be a leading advocate for GVHD, a serious and rare condition that impacts around 10,000 people in the U.S. each year.
"Establishing this award in his name is a testament to Dr. Wartman's incredible journey with GVHD — personally and professionally," said Corey Cutler, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Vice President of ASTCT. "It is also an important recognition of the relentless dedication of medical professionals, like Dr. Pavletic, to advance research and ultimately improve outcomes for patients living with GVHD."
As the first recipient of the GVHD Achievement Award, Dr. Pavletic embodies all the qualities the award aims to recognize, including a persistent dedication to improving outcomes for GVHD patients, consistently embracing novel ideas to improve outcomes for GVHD patients, advancing the science to treat GVHD, and advocating for GVHD patients.
Dr. Pavletic is the senior clinician of the Immune Deficiency Cellular Program and head of the GVHD and Late Effects Section within the Center for Cancer Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he leads research, both patient-reported and trial-based, and is focused on continuously improving the overall outcomes for patients. He also organized the NIH GVHD Consensus Consortium, which is dedicated to advancing treatment and improving the quality of life for patients living with GVHD.
"I know Lukas very well, and I am honored to accept this inaugural award which carries his name," said Dr. Pavletic. "There are numerous unsung heroes battling GVHD and advocating for better treatment and research. Lukas' story and his work symbolize all of these aspects — his professional focus on research, his personal battle with the disease, his advocacy for others who have GVHD."
The award will be presented to Dr. Pavletic at a special reception hosted by the GVHD Alliance at the 2023 Tandem Meetings | Transplantation & Cellular Therapy Meetings of ASTCT™ and CIBMTR® on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.
About the GVHD Alliance
The GVHD Alliance is empowering voices in the GVHD community to increase awareness and help improve the lives of people living with GVHD. The GVHD Alliance has developed a unified platform that facilitates a nurturing community for people living with GVHD, connecting resources, education, and support. Current GVHD Alliance member organizations include American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT); National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match®; Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network (BMT InfoNet); Meredith A. Cowden Foundation; and National Bone Marrow Transplant Link (nbmtLINK). The GVHD Alliance and GVHD Day are supported by Sanofi.
About Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD)
Graft-versus-host disease, or GVHD, is a complication that can happen after an allogeneic blood and marrow transplant, meaning the cells came from a donor. In GVHD, donor cells (the graft) attack the patient's (the host's) organs and/or tissues. GVHD impacts around 10,000 people in the U.S. each yearand is characterized as acute GVHD (aGVHD) or chronic GVHD (cGVHD). Allogeneic blood and marrow transplant recipients can develop one, both or neither form of GVHD.
About the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy™ (ASTCT)
ASTCT is an international professional membership association of more than 3,700 physicians, investigators, and other health care professionals from more than 45 countries. Our mission is dedicated to improving the application and success of blood and marrow transplantation and related cellular therapies. We strive to be the leading organization promoting research, education, and clinical practice in the field. For more information, visit http://www.astct.org.
About the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match®
The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match® is the leading global partner working to save lives through cellular therapy. With 35 years of experience managing the most diverse registry of potential unrelated blood stem cell donors and cord blood units in the world, NMDP/Be The Match is a proven partner in providing cures to patients with life-threatening blood and marrow cancers and diseases. Through their global network, they connect centers and patients to their best cell therapy option — from blood stem cell transplant to a next-generation therapy — and collaborate with cell and gene therapy companies to support therapy development and delivery through Be The Match BioTherapies®. NMDP/Be The Match is a tireless advocate for the cell therapy community, working with hematologists/oncologists to remove barriers to consultation and treatment, and supporting patients through no-cost programs to eliminate non-medical obstacles to cell therapy. In addition, they are a global leader in research through the CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®) — a collaboration with Medical College of Wisconsin, investing in and managing research studies that improve patient outcomes and advance the future of care.
About Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network (BMT InfoNet)
Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network (BMT InfoNet) is a leading advocacy organization for bone marrow, stem cell and cord blood transplant recipients. Founded in 1990, BMT InfoNet has pioneered a vast array of services to help transplant patients make critical decisions throughout their transplant journey. For more information, visit http://www.bmtinfonet.org.
About Meredith A. Cowden Foundation
The mission of the Meredith A. Cowden Foundation is to increase the number of blood and marrow transplant survivors, to raise awareness of transplant complications and late effects, and to reduce their impact. The Meredith A. Cowden Foundation is committed to providing funding for research to prevent, treat and cure Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD); educating physicians, researchers, patients, and the general public concerning GVHD and late effects of transplants, their prevention, treatment and cure; providing general information concerning the blood cancers and their treatment, with a special emphasis on the treatment of leukemia and bone marrow and stem cell transplantation; and providing resources to support programs designed to enhance the quality of life of patients and their families during treatment. For over a decade, the Foundation has hosted a unique conference where physicians, mid-level medical personnel, patients, and their caregivers and family come together to receive the best current information concerning the treatment of GVHD and late effects. For more information, visit http://www.cowdenfoundation.org.
About National Bone Marrow Transplant Link (nbmtLINK)
Established in 1992, the National Bone Marrow Transplant Link (nbmtLINK) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to serving individuals before, during, and after a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Myra Jacobs founded the nbmtLINK and its mission is to help patients, caregivers, and families cope with the social and emotional challenges of bone marrow/stem cell transplant from diagnosis through survivorship by providing vital information and personalized support services. For more information, visit http://www.nbmtlink.org.
ASTCT Senior Marketing Manager
Meredith A. Cowden Foundation
Be the Match/NMDP
Lukas Wartman GVHD Achievement Award Press Release_FINAL.docx
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