It is my privilege and honor to welcome all of you to Florence, Italy, on behalf of the European Association for Haematopathology (EAHP), and Prof. Lorenzo Leoncini, as Chair of a very dedicated Local Organizing Committee. The members of the executive committee (EXCO) have prepared an excellent program for the 21st EAHP-SH congress that I hope will fulfill your expectations. This year is a special meeting, following 2 years of SARS-CoV2 pandemic that prevented us from meeting colleagues and friends for almost 4 years. The success of our congresses is the consequence of intense and fruitful scientific collaboration between our members and members of the Society for Hematopathology (SH) that in recent years has expanded to welcome colleagues from all around the world. These meetings reflect the growing international participation and representation of our Societies (EAHP-SH), which are dedicated to promote science, knowledge and education in Hematopathology.
We have witnessed rapid change in our field over the last few years, triggered by the new DNA sequencing technologies and other molecular techniques that allow us to investigate the pathogenesis of well-known diseases as well as to recognize new emerging entities. We, as pathologists, need to integrate this new information with our solid morphologic background, which continues to be the essence of our profession. These innovative technologies have clinical impact, prompting the development of new targeted drugs and better therapeutic strategies for our patients. To bridge the gap, we have prepared an exciting program devoted to “Novel frontiers in molecular diagnosis of lymphoma and myeloid neoplasms: biomarkers and integrative prognostic models”.
The goal is to explore how best to integrate into our daily clinical practice the plethora of new technologies that help us understand lymphoma biology and myeloid neoplasms.
The highlight of our meeting is the Karl Lennert´s lecture, with which the EAHP honors an outstanding haematopathologist/biologist for their inspiring contribution in advancing and shaping the understanding of our field. The 2022 Karl Lennert awardee is Prof. Philippe Gaulard, a very esteemed past president of our Society, who will share with us his long adventure “Understanding peripheral T-cell lymphomas – lesson from the past moving to the future”. It is also with great pleasure that I announce the David Y Mason lecture, which is dedicated to honor the innovative approach to science and spirit of David Y Mason, who once said, “each technological advance applied in Pathology opens a window to a new landscape of knowledge”. This year we welcome Teresa Palomero with the lecture on “Oncogenic mechanisms in the development of T-cell lymphomas”. I also want to thank the generous contribution of the David Y Mason foundation and Teresa Marafioti for the Mason´s Award that is given to a young researcher to foster interest in hematopathology.
An important part of our meeting is the EAHP educational session. For this meeting, we have prepared a special long session dedicated to cover the two proposals to update the lymphoma and myeloid classifications. We previously informed our members timely, accurately and objectively about the conflict between IARC/WHO and our societies (EAHP/SH). Unfortunately, this conflict was not resolved, resulting in two different updates to the lymphoma/myeloid classification. There have been 4 recent publications presenting the two classifications; the International Consensus Classification (2022 ICC), supported and organized by the EAHP-SH, published in Blood, and the 5th Edition WHO classification, supported and organized by IARC, published in Leukemia. Certainly, our members and in general the hematopathology community will have questions on how to handle the practical reality of navigating these two classifications in their daily diagnostic work. Although many entities are identical in the two classifications, there are significant differences in nomenclature and diagnostic criteria for others, and some disease entities are recognized in one but not in both classifications. The educational session will be dedicated to present both classifications and try to highlight and discuss the different approaches. The session includes one hour at the end of the presentations for questions, to help our members to develop a roadmap to navigate specific diagnostic settings.
Despite the different approaches and opinions, I hope this meeting will be remembered as a time of fruitful exchanges in a friendly atmosphere. I have been attending the EAHP meetings since 1992 in Bologna, Italy, and coming back to Florence, Italy, as President, after 30 years has a special charm for me. I have learnt a lot in these meetings, I respect and admire many people that preceded me, that inspired me, and I am deeply in debt to them. I am proud to say that our Association is standing on the shoulders of many giants.
As in previous meetings, we continue our EAHP Travel Grant Program to facilitate the participation of young hematopathologists and scientists from developing countries to attend our meetings. We appreciate the donations from our members to support this program. We hope this initiative will continue to grow in the future. I also would like to thank our sponsors for helping us make this event possible, and they have prepared very interesting satellite symposia that I encourage you to attend. Sponsorship is very important for a “healthy” budget and to keep the registration fee as low as possible for our members, residents and PhD students.
On Monday evening we have organized a cheese and wine gathering for our young EAHP members. We encourage all young participants to attend this gathering and get to know other young EAHP members and become part of the future of our Association.
Although we have a full scientific program, I recommend that you devote time to Florence, an open-air museum covering medieval, renaissance, gothic and neo-classical periods. I certainly urge you to discover and rediscover the incredible charm of the historical city of Florence, the narrow streets in the old city center, the museums, the cathedral, the places that inspired Dante Alighieri to write his famous Divine Comedy, and his famous quote “There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery” after he was expelled from Florence.
Finally, I would like to deeply thank the lymphoma and bone marrow panel members for their great contribution to the preparation of the workshops, the abstract reviewers, the local team, and the EXCO members for their help in organizing the meeting. My special gratitude to Prof. Lorenzo Leoncini for his very generous hospitality, and to Birgitta Sander (secretary/treasurer), John Goodlad (meeting secretary), Stefan Dirnhofer (president elect) and Hans Michael Kvasnika (EBMWG), who had been dedicated to make this meeting an unforgettable experience.
On behalf of the EXCO members and of Prof. Lorenzo Leoncini,
Welcome to Florence!