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EBMT celebrates the 50th anniversary of its creation

EBMT celebrates the 50th anniversary of its creation

The EBMT (European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation) is a non-profit medical and scientific organization founded in 1974 by three researchers, including Prof. Eliane Gluckman, when transplantation was still in its infancy. Its mission is to save lives of patients with cancer and other serious hematological diseases through the development of research in the field of bone marrow transplantation.

EBMT recently commemorated its 50th anniversary, marking five decades of advancements in hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) and cell therapy. More than 5,000 healthcare professionals, including the CSM’s Monacord team, gathered from 14 to 17 April 2024 in Glasgow for this special edition of the annual congress.

To mark this anniversary, the EBMT organized a series of celebratory events during the congress with a special tribute to Professor Eliane Gluckman, who recalled the history of the creation of the EBMT and its main discoveries during the Opening Ceremony.

In 1974, the EBMT was created on the initiative of a small group of European doctors who decided to meet informally, in a small hotel in St Moritz (Switzerland), to share their experiences in the field of hematopoietic bone marrow cell transplantation. Together, they reviewed their cases and files, one by one, exchanging views on challenges and prospects. They also had a great time on the slopes of the Alps, skiing and fostering the development of a collaborative atmosphere and laying the foundations for professional connections.

The founding members were Jon Van Rood (Leiden), who was one of the discoverers of the role of HLA in transplantation, Bruno Speck (Basel), the first to use ATG for the treatment of aplastic anemia, and Eliane Gluckman (Paris), who established the first bone marrow transplant unit in 1973 in France, after a year of training in Seattle. At the first informal meeting of the group in St. Moritz, the database included 13 patients. Five years later a total of 285 hematopoietic cell transplants had been performed, and by 1989 this number had increased to 4,025.

In these 50 years, EBMT has facilitated groundbreaking discoveries, including: transplants with peripheral blood or umbilical cord blood stem cells; transplant with HLA-identical or partially identical unrelated donors or haplo identical related donors; gene therapy and CAR-T cells (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells). Prof. Gluckman created the European Registry of Umbilical Cord Blood Transplants and data collection is still ongoing thanks to the Eurocord association and its collaborations with the Biomedicine Agency (France), the University of Paris Cité and the Government of the Monaco Principality.

With continued developments in cellular immunotherapy, gene therapy technologies and personalized medicine, EBMT will continue to advance research, education, and patient treatment and foster innovation and collaboration in this field.

Presentation video:

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