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Academy and Rutgers University Bring Together Researchers and Clinicians to Discuss Bone Marrow Cancers

Toxicologists, hematologists, and oncologists join forces in a new interdisciplinary approach to accelerate research for leukemias, lymphomas, and other bone marrow diseases

Published May 20, 2013

NEW YORK, May 20, 2013—The Academy and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, will present the conference, The Bone Marrow Niche, Stem Cells, and Leukemia: Impact of Drugs, Chemicals, and the Environment, on May 29 – 31.

More than 20,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with bone marrow failure syndromes. Environmental, chemical, and genetic factors have been linked to the development of lymphomas, leukemias, and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Additionally, some anti-cancer drugs have been shown to themselves induce DNA damage and secondary cancers.

"It wasn't that long ago that a diagnosis of hematologic cancer, such as acute myeloid leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, was a death sentence. Survival is now longer than we thought possible because of major advances in our basic science understanding of hematopoietic stem cell biology," says conference organizer, Dr. Robert Snyder, Professor Emeritus, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

"Continued collaboration between the experimental and clinical toxicologists, hematologists, and oncologists is crucial for developing improved therapies backed by new research, and eventually a cure for these diseases," adds Snyder.

The need for collaboration between relevant scientific and medical fields is critical to better understanding, preventing, and treating bone marrow malignancies. Underlining this need, this conference has received all-around financial and participatory support from academia, government, and the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The conference represents the combined efforts of a 31-person organizing committee, which includes researchers, clinicians, and key leaders from the fields of toxicology, hematology, oncology, stem cell biology, and environmental and occupational health, as well as representatives from the chemical industry and government regulatory agencies.

Conference sessions will combine basic science and toxicology research at the level of the bone marrow niche with clinical findings from healthy subjects and patients. Topics for discussion will include bone marrow niche structure and function; the maturation and differentiation of healthy and leukemogenic hematopoietic stem cells; and the environmental, chemical, and genetic factors involved in the development of myeloid abnormalities including MDS and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

In addition to a host of individual lectures, the meeting will feature panel discussions, a poster session, and short presentations selected from abstracts submitted by early-career investigators.

Six students have received travel fellowships to attend the conference as part of early-career and under-represented minority travel fellowships funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences. Students will be traveling from New Mexico, Russia, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

An additional 13 students from the tri-state area have been funded to attend the conference by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (through its Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and the Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute) and The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

For more information, including a full conference agenda, visit

Media must RSVP to Diana Friedman (; 212-298-8645).

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at