Baptist Health South Florida

Miami Cancer Institute Brings Together Experts Who Share Newest Advances for Treating Hematologic Malignancies

May 28, 2021

Dr. Guenther Koehne, Miami Cancer InstituteMiami, FL ― May 28, 2021 ― Exciting advances in immunotherapy, the discovery of novel agents and a better understanding of the molecular makeup of an individual’s disease are leading to revolutionary changes in the treatment of patients with hematologic cancers. The news on the latest promising treatments impacting life expectancy and quality of life came out of Miami Cancer Institute’s Summit of the Americas on Immunotherapies for Hematologic Malignancies, the second annual gathering of the top experts in the field. Nearly 300 physicians and other healthcare providers attended the Summit.

In the United States in 2020, nearly 180,000 people were diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma society. As clinical trials and research continue, physician scientists are gaining more insight into which patients respond better to immunotherapy versus chemotherapy or who might need a combination of the treatments along with stem cell transplantation, said Guenther Koehne, M.D., Ph.D., course director and deputy director and chief of Blood & Marrow Transplant and Hematologic Oncology at Miami Cancer Institute.

“There has been an explosion in research that has led to a rapidly evolving environment in the treatment of cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma,” Dr. Koehne said. “The Summit faculty are physicians who are overseeing many of these treatment breakthroughs. By sharing information in this format, we can move these developments to the patient bedside more quickly.”

The renowned group and their topics included:

  • Wendy Stock, M.D., the University of Chicago, who spoke on innovative regimens for older adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), particularly increasing the use of targeted immunotherapy drugs while decreasing chemotherapy agents which can be more toxic for the elderly than for younger patients.
  •  Richard Stone, M.D., Dana Farber Cancer Institute, who discussed the importance of genomic classifications and mutations in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in order to better choose targeted drugs, including monoclonal antibodies.
  •  Paul Richardson, M.D., Dana Farber Cancer Institute, who delved into next-generation therapies and novel agents to treat patients with multiple myeloma, highlighting the sequencing of triple and quadruple drug combinations.
  • Adam Cohen, M.D., the University of Pennsylvania, who spoke about B-cell Maturation Antigens (BCMA), particularly for patients whose multiple myeloma has relapsed.
  • Robert Soiffer, M.D., Dana Farber Cancer Institute, who discussed how CAR T-cell therapy will be best integrated into the treatment landscape or even replace the use of stem cell transplantation in patients with diffuse large B cell lymphomas and other lymphomas.
  • Robert Sackstein, M.D., Ph.D., Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, whose laboratories are working on the more directed maneuvering of genetically altered cells that battle cancer, accelerating their movement to the sites they are most needed, thereby allowing physicians to administer lower doses of drugs and reduce toxicities.
  • Paul Lin, M.D., Ph.D., MD Anderson Cancer Center, whose work on CAR-NK (natural killer) cells, which are more readily available than CAR T-cells, is showing promise in early studies and can be enhanced with the addition of a checkpoint inhibitor.

Dr. Koehne is a pioneer in allogeneic stem cell transplantation and immunotherapies, having developed a technique to manipulate donor cells to treat those with acute myeloid and lymphoblastic leukemia and multiple myeloma . The manipulation of donor stem cell products prior to allogeneic stem cell transplantation diminishes the often-harmful graft versus host disease complication of transplantation.

“I think one of the most exciting things about the work that all of us who took part in the Summit of the Americas do is that we are showing that treatments are becoming more sophisticated and more targeted to the individual,” Dr. Koehne said. “This is not one size fits all care. Every day we are learning new facts about how to choose and integrate the best medications and treatments for the specific individual. And we are finding new treatments for those with extremely complicated cases. This improves outcome and gives us hope.”

While this year’s Summit of the Americas on Immunotherapies for Hematologic Malignancies was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, next year’s should return in person in Miami.


About Miami Cancer Institute
Miami Cancer Institute brings to South Florida access to personalized clinical treatments and comprehensive support services delivered with unparalleled compassion. No other cancer program in the region has the combination of cancer-fighting expertise and advanced technology—including the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, and one of the only radiation oncology program in the world with each of the newest radiation therapies in one place—to diagnose and deliver precise cancer treatments that achieve the best outcomes and improve the lives of cancer patients. The Institute offers an impressive roster of established community oncologists and renowned experts, clinical researchers and genomic scientists recruited from the nation’s top cancer centers. Selected as Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSK) Alliance, Miami Cancer Institute is part of a meaningful clinical collaboration that affords patients in South Florida access to innovative treatments and ensures that the standards of care developed by their multidisciplinary disease management teams match those at MSK.

Miami Cancer Institute is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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