Despite successful attempts to control environmental exposures, they remain an international problem in environmental/occupational health. The New York Academy of Sciences and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, will jointly present a 2.5-day conference, The Bone Marrow Niche, Stem Cells, and Leukemia: Impact of Drugs, Chemicals and the Environment, at the New York Academy of Sciences on May 29-31, 2013, convening approximately 200 representatives of two disparate fields of research, toxicology and hematology, around a jointly shared goal - to better understand, prevent, and treat myeloid neoplasms. The main objectives of this conference are to: (i) Provide a neutral forum for discussion of the current and emerging concepts of bone marrow niche biology, including the maturation and differentiation of healthy and leukemogenic hematopoietic stem cells, and the environmental, chemical, and genetic factors involved in the development of myeloid abnormalities;(ii) Attract/showcase early career, female and underrepresented ethnic/racial minority investigators via short talks, posters, travel fellowships, and discounted registration, and provide opportunities to interact with senior investigators;(iii) Disseminate the conference proceedings to the global community;and (iv) Foster collaboration between academia, clinicians, government and regulatory agencies, and the chemical industry to promote a knowledge exchange leading to successful translation of research into improved patient therapies and policy. Conference sessions will combine basic science and toxicology research at the level of the bone marrow niche with clinical findings from healthy subjects and patients. Networking events, early career and minority investigator short talks, panel discussions, and a Poster Session will provide opportunities for interaction among the multidisciplinary participants who may not otherwise interact at a single scientific meeting, including toxicologists, environmental scientists, molecular and cellular biologists, and clinical researchers examining the effects of the environment, chemicals, and clinical therapeutics on bone marrow development, as well as clinical hematologists, oncologists, physicians and researchers that specialize in leukemia, lymphoma, and other disorders of the blood and bone marrow. Discussions originating from the conference and their dissemination via publication in a volume of Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences will have global impact and ultimately aid in the prevention of myelodysplasia, acute myelogenous leukemia and other disorders of the bone marrow, and contribute to the development of anti-cancer therapeutics with reduced risk of therapy-induced secondary cancers. Only through cross-field collaborative research envisioned as a result of this conference can we fully understand the mechanisms by which stem cells develop in, and environmental factors harm, the bone marrow niche, and identify ways in which to reduce the risk of bone marrow damage from new therapeutics.

Public Health Relevance

Between 20,000 and 30,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with bone marrow failure syndromes. To date, two separate groups of scientists and physicians have been studying bone marrow: toxicologists who examine the effects of chemicals and radiation on healthy marrow, and hematologists and oncologists who investigate bone marrow abnormalities and malignancies. Environmental, chemical, and genetic factors have been linked to the development of bone marrow malignancies, including lymphomas, leukemias, and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Furthermore, some anti-cancer drugs have been shown to themselves induce leukemias. In light of the continued rapid development of, and increasing societal exposure to, toxic environmental agents that may be carcinogenic, including chemicals and pharmaceuticals, we face the potential for increased numbers of environmentally induced cases of MDS and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Thus, there is a clear, unmet need for toxicologists, hematologists, and oncologists from academia, industry, and government - which may otherwise not interact in a professional scientific setting designed for optimal knowledge exchange - to come together in order to accelerate the investigation and understanding both of basic bone marrow biology and environmentally- induced acquired diseases of the marrow. This need is reinforced by the introduction to Congress of the Bone Marrow Failure Disease Research and Treatment Act of 2011 (H.R. 640), for consideration as an amendment of the US Public Health Service Act. To specifically address this need, the New York Academy of Sciences and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, will jointly present a 2.5-day domestic, scientific symposium in New York City, titled The Bone Marrow Niche, Stem Cells, and Leukemia: Impact of Drugs, Chemicals and the Environment. This conference will convene approximately 200 leaders from across these distinct research and medical communities to present and discuss the latest research on the biology, prevention, and treatment of malignancies of bone marrow-derived cells. Publication of the conference proceedings in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences will disseminate the scientific information exchanged at the meeting to the global research and medical communities, and also serve to inform public health policy.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Conference (R13)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-JAB-D (C))
Program Officer
Humble, Michael C
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
New York Academy of Sciences
New York
United States
Zip Code
Greim, Helmut; Kaden, Debra A; Larson, Richard A et al. (2014) The bone marrow niche, stem cells, and leukemia: impact of drugs, chemicals, and the environment. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1310:7-31