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ctt-journal > Editorial CTT Vol. 3 No. 12

Editorial CTT Vol. 3 No. 12

Dear Colleagues, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen!

It is our privilege to welcome all the guests and participants of the Fifth International Symposium “Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation” in memory of Raisa M. Gorbacheva. Over the last years, our meetings and discussions have become a good tradition, and we are glad that the Symposium is considered an important annual event by a remarkable number of hematologists.

The role of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is even increasing, despite current progress in treatment of some childhood and adult leukemias and non-malignant diseases using targeted drugs and new chemotherapeutic protocols. Over forty years of clinical advances, HSCT required fast developments in novel cellular, immunotherapeutic, and genetic technologies, which are quite promising with respect to future achievements.

The application of nonmyeloablative conditioning and reduced-intensity treatment regimens in pediatric practice allows the avoidance of severe late consequences of HSCT. Moreover, upon improving HSCT protocols, we are about to overcome its upper age limits. This meets the increasing needs for HSCT among the cohort of aged patients. Certain progress is being achieved with the treatment of graft-versus-host disease. Above all, this success was achieved due to the application of mesenchymal stem cells and extracorporeal photopheresis.

During the last decade, HSCT procedures were increasingly performed using alternative stem cell sources, e.g., cord blood cells or haploidentical grafts: thus suggesting a prospective outcome of finding a potential donor for any patient. Modern basic techniques of ex vivo manipulations with cells provide unique opportunities of cell engineering, achieving transplants with defined engraftment potential and immunotherapeutic properties.

Control of minimal residual disease and treatment of relapsing malignancies is an important pre-requisite of clinical success in HSCT. In this respect, adoptive immunotherapy is of the utmost importance. This approach was suggested by research teams from Munich (H.-J. Kolb) and Seattle (R. Storb) twenty years ago.

All these current issues will be subject to discussion at the ongoing Symposium. We are glad to note the high activity of our old friends and new participants, as seen from a dense scientific program, which includes oral and poster communications. The work by our young colleagues is especially welcome. The best of them will be awarded with special prizes from the Scientific Committee.

We express a special appreciation and gratitude to our sponsors for their valuable support in the arrangement of the Fifth International Symposium in memory of Raisa M. Gorbacheva.

In addition, we wish to acknowledge some recent funding by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supporting a special cooperation project designed by the Transplant Centers of Hamburg and St. Petersburg and this journal, Cellular Therapy and Transplantation (CTT), within the Program German-Russian Year of Education, Science and Innovation 2011/12.

Welcome to the City of St. Petersburg. We hope that the ongoing Meeting at the Constantine Palace will be useful and interesting. We wish you fruitful work, effective discussions, and pleasant entertainment in St. Petersburg.

Boris V. Afanasyev and Axel R. Zander