One of the things I love most about this society is our ability to come together.
It’s very significant, especially if you understand the history of ASTCT. When we first formed more than 25 years ago, our founders were looking for a way to focus specifically on BMT. Sure, there were other meetings and organizations that offered some segmented programming related to BMT, but there wasn’t one singular place people could come together to learn, to listen, to commiserate, to celebrate.
When we began planning this years’ meeting, we were envisioning world class education coupled with sandy beaches and sunshine. I’m sure we’re all a little disappointed we can’t go to Hawaii this year. But as I reflected on my disappointment, I was brought back to those early days of the conference.
As legend tells, the Tandem Meetings (as they were then called) was a group of friends on a ski trip looking to talk about their research and the field in general. The only money they had was their own. This was a skin and bones operation that relied on a few volunteers. It didn’t have the fancy frills we’re used to now (that’s not to say we don’t appreciate all that—who doesn’t love nice accommodations, luncheons and dancing!).
These were people who were passionate about what they did. They didn’t care where it was or what extras they could get. They wanted to learn with one another and grow. That ethos defines us to this day.
A global pandemic has forced us to change our plans for the first time in our Society’s history. We know the right thing to do is to stay home and stay safe. And unlike the 1990s when this event first came to be, we have the ability to connect with one another no matter where we are in the world.
Let me also underscore the incredible educational agenda our volunteers and staff have created for this event as well. We’ll be touching on the latest in GVHD, how cellular therapy and transplantation affect aging populations and how transplant centers around the country dealt with COVID-19. I am thoroughly impressed on the range of topics we’ll be able to explore during the meeting.
The sole purpose of the original meeting was to bring great science to the table to make us all better clinicians to help our patients. While this year’s TCT won’t be the one we’re used to, it’s imperative we all participate for the betterment of the Society, of our patients and of ourselves.
I hope to see you (virtually) this February. And don’t forget to engage with us on social using the hashtag #TCTM21.
Happy New Year.
Pavan Reddy, MD