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ASH 2021: Meet Your Heroes
Posted: Dec 15, 2021
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Young adult fiction author Luisa M. Alcott once wrote, “The youngest, aged twelve, could not conceal her disappointment, and turned away, feeling as so many of us have felt when we discover that our [heroes] are very ordinary men and women.”

As the 63rd ASH Annual meeting approached I began to wonder if meeting my heroes, those Multiple Myeloma Specialist that I’ve worked with over the past 3 years but haven’t had the opportunity to meet in person, would turn out to be, well, ordinary. However, I can tell you from experience that the adage, “never meet your heroes,” is pure fiction.

When I found myself face-to-face, or should I say mask-to-mask, with multiple myeloma specialists, I discovered just how passionate they are for research and finding a cure. With each encounter I was met with excitement that matched my own, followed by praise on the research that the HealthTree Foundation and its patients are doing.

At the HealthTree Foundation we conduct multiple myeloma research in two ways.

  1.  Mining the data - Electronic health records are uploaded into HealthTree Cure Hub and verified for accuracy. They can then be searched for patterns or to identify new hypotheses.
  2. Patient participation - Patient’s with multiple myeloma participate in researcher-driven online surveys and studies.

Through our research we have had several research projects published to research journals or as abstracts at national conferences. In fact, this year the HealthTree Foundation is presenting two posters (1, 2) at ASH’s annual meeting that is being attended in-person and virtually by 30,000 doctors, clinicians, and researchers.

A feat like this could be an intimidating experience to present to your heroes, especially at an ASH conference, but the atmosphere is exciting, and the research conducted and now presented at the ASH conference has been received with enthusiasm.

Continuing forward the HealthTree Foundation, with the invaluable help from patients, will continue to develop and execute research designed to reduce the time to a cure and that is pure non-fiction.

The author Nathan Sweeney

about the author
Nathan Sweeney

Nathan W. Sweeney, Ph.D. - Dr. Sweeney is the Manager of Clinical Research for the HealthTree Foundation and a pediatric cancer survivor (ALL). He has 14 years of research experience including undergraduate research at the University of Utah, doctoral research in Cancer Biology at the University of Arizona, and post-doctoral research at the Huntsman Cancer Insitute. When he's not researching cancer you can find him mountain biking, fishing, or playing video games with his 6-year-old daughter.

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