Policy Perspectives, Feb. 2018


By Stephanie Farnia, ASBMT Director of Health Policy and Strategic Relations


All things Tandem…

But first, we ICER:  The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review has been moving through a process of evaluating the cost effectiveness of CAR-T.  The ASBMT has submitted a comment letter on the draft evidence report as an identified stakeholder and Dr. Komanduri will be participating as part of an expert panel when the documents are up for a vote on March 2.  The session will be live streamed for free for those register – information on the ICER CAR-T page: https://icer-review.org/topic/car-t

A few selected Tandem highlights:

Tandem can be overwhelming.  There are always 18 things happening at once and your calendar is packed from 6am-9pm.  All of the sessions will be valuable, but I try to scour the various tracks to find those most key to what I need to know in my position.  I’m sharing some of that with you below in case it’s is of interest.  (And I know I missed some great things on this list – apologies in advance!)

Sessions – open to any attendee type, even if listed in various tracks


  • 8:15-10:00 – Gene Therapy (and opening ceremonies) (Hall C): The official kick-off to the Tandem meetings will be chaired by John Tisdale of the NIH.


  • 10:30-12:00 – CMS Super Session (251 A-F): Susan Leppke (NMDP), Jugna Shah (Nimitt) and myself are teaming up for a fast-paced extended session on all things HCT and Medicare. 
  • 1:00-4:00 – Informatics for Cell Therapy and HCT (355 F):  All things CIBMTR and EHR/EMR.
  • 1:15-4:15 – Value and Health Economics Special Interest Group Sessions (251 A-F): Three great sessions on Valuing CAR-T, PROs in HCT and Health Policy Hot Topics. 
  • 1:15-2:00 – Ethical Considerations of Precision Medicine (250 ABC): Title says it all!
  • 1:30-3:00 – Hidden Costs of Transplant (255 EF): Pediatric SIG session includes a discussion of the effects of poverty on pediatric transplant.
  • 3:15-4:15 – Exporting Biotechnologies Across Borders (255 EF): Representatives from the FDA and Novartis will be sharing perspectives on moving research breakthroughs into the market.


  • 8:30-10:00 – ASBMT Presidential Symposium: 25 Years of Progress (Hall C): A must-see session showcasing the history of the ASBMT, the science that moved the field forward and the partnership between the ASBMT and CIBMTR over that time. 
  • 9:15-10:00 – CAR-T Money Matters (251 A-F): I will be presenting the latest on CAR-T reimbursement, with a focus on resources and solutions for commonly asked questions.
  • 11:15-12:00 - Financial Counseling in the New Era of BMT and Cellular Therapies (251 A-F)
  • 12:15-1:15 – Quality Outcomes Forum: Making Data Your Friend (255 EF): This is a late addition session that is focused on how to use the new tools in the CIBMTR’s SCTOD for useful analysis of your program’s data.  Powerhouse group of speakers will share how they use the tools in their own programs.
  • 1:15-2:15 – New and Emerging Drugs (255 BC): Always useful to hear the Pharmacy SIG talk through the pharmaceutical landscape.
  • 2:45-3:30 – Management of CRS/Neurotoxicity at the Bedside (250 A-F): Important topic as CAR-T rolls out to more centers
  • 2:45-6:45 – Awards, Best Abstracts, the Bortin and Thomas lectures (Hall C): I will be camped out in Hall C, watching all of the awesomeness and frantically googling things to try to follow along with the science.


  • 8:30-9:30 – Pharmacy Advocacy (255 BC): HCT pharmacists are fierce advocates for their field and the patients they treat.  This session will talk through those efforts in the last year and what’s to come in 2018.
  • 8:30-10:00 – Building a Safer and Faster CAR (Hall C): CRISPR and I are still getting to know each other.  I’m hoping this will help.
  • 10:45-11:30 – What we do right….What can we do better? Survivors share their thoughts (250 A-F).  Sessions that involve those we serve are always opportunities to learn and grow.  


  • 12:30-1:30 - Late-breaking Abstracts (Hall C): because they save (some of) the best for last.  

A note on posters:  I’m absolutely positive that there are dozens (hundreds?) of compelling posters that will be show at this year’s meeting, I just haven’t had time to make my checklist yet.  Let me know @HCT_policy if you spy a good one.

25th Anniversary Videos:  If you haven’t seen the 25th Anniversary videos that are popping up on the @ASBMT Twitter and Facebook pages, take some time to watch – they give a real sense of the history and progress the field has made in the last 25 years. 

And don’t forget the hashtag - #BMTTandem18!