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Past meetings on CML – how we got to number 11 this year

The International CML meeting being held in Bordeaux 
is number 11 in a series that started in 1987

The characterization of the break point cluster region on chromosome 22 reported by Groffen and colleagues from Rotterdam in 1984 was followed rapidly by the identification of the BCR-ABL fusion by Canaani and colleagues the following year. It seems to many in the field that these were important starting points for unravelling more of the molecular basis of CML and so the first meeting to review all that was known of the biology of CML was convened in Annapolis in 1987. Just 35 people attended. The BCR gene of which the original bcr formed just a small part was named at that time. As second CML meeting was held in Cape Cod in 1990 and a third meeting took place on Martha’s Vineyard in 1992 – a charming location selected for his summer holiday this year by the US president. The major topics at that meeting were little different from those discussed subsequently, namely molecular biology, cell biology, Ph-positive ALL and therapy.

The next CML meetings took place on the other side of the Atlantic. One in Portofino organised by Angelo Carella and another in Jerusalem organized by Eliezer Rachmilowitz. It was at the Jerusalem meeting that we were updated with status the tyrphostins, which already showed some promise in their ability to inhibit the ABL kinase activity. The sixth meeting took place in Rapallo and the seventh was in Genoa. Both were organised with help from the European School of Hematology, which has been involved ever since. The next meeting also took place in Genoa in 1997. It was very clear by that stage that interferon alfa and allografting were both major steps forward in treatment of CML but autografting with cells collected from the peripheral blood after chemotherapy was becoming an attractive concept too.


The modern era started with a small meeting in Bordeaux organised by Josy Reiffers that preceded a larger meeting on CML in Biarritz in 1999.  At the first of these two linked meetings we heard the preliminary results of using the compound originally called CBP-57148B but recently renamed STI571 for treating interferon resistant CML in CP.  They excited all who heard them. The IRIS study started the following year.

More recently there have been meetings dedicated to CML in Genoa (2004), Mandelieu near Cannes (2007), Boston (2008) and now in Bordeaux. The plan is to continue annual meeting on one or other side of the Atlantic until all the problems of CML are solved, which may still be some years away!

Angelo Carella
Robert Gale
John Goldman