July 2021 Issue 7

Dear BSBMTCT member,


We want to begin this month’s Bulletin in honour of our dear friend and colleague, Dr Maria Gilleece, who sadly passed away on the 24th June 2021. Maria was a major contributor to our national and international BMT community, a first-class healthcare professional always dedicated to her patients, a champion of education, training and research, and also an all-round wonderful, warm, kind person with immense humanity and energy. Maria will be greatly missed by so many, and our deepest sympathies go especially to her colleagues in Leeds and to her close friends and family. The BSBMTCT will be dedicating our Autumn Education Day on 3rd November to Maria and the areas of our practice that she was passionate about. We look forward to seeing many of your there to share memories.


We hope all remains well, or at least reasonably stable, with you and your teams. For many units, as well as maintaining our patient services, one of the biggest challenges has been, often unpredictable, staff absences related to family contact with COVID and even the occasional positivity in colleagues despite vaccinations. Even so, vaccination remains central to progress and now over 46 million have now received their vaccinations in the UK. Our BSBMTCT COVID-19 guidelines and vaccination guidelines continue to provide up to date guidance: https://bsbmtct.org/bsbmtct-and-covid/. The national multi-speciality OCTAVE Study of immune response post-COVID vaccination is still recruiting within the core and other IMPACT centres, with around 150 patients recruited to deep immunophenotyping and serology arms. Many thanks to all centres involved. Imminent plans are underway for the follow on OCTAVE DUO Study – the HSCT arm will roll out in the second wave of the broader OCTAVE DUO study late August to compare responses in low and non-responders to Pfizer and Moderna booster vaccines. For further details please contact Dr Paul Miller, Chair of the BSBMTCT Vaccination Sub-commitee, who is leading the HSCT/CART cohort lead within the OCTAVE programme with our BMT friendly ‘vaccinologist’, Dr Thushan de Silva.


Otherwise, as always, there remains much on the ‘to do’ list…


  • Sara Ghorashian, Maeve O’Reilly and Rachael Hough launched the Advanced Cellular Therapies (ACT) Sub-committee and a two-hour inaugural virtual meeting on the 29th June. This was a very successful first meeting with over 50 attendees. We are planning to have a page on our BSBMTCT website dedicated to this work. More details to follow.
  • We continue to develop workforce, revised BMT indications, delivering accreditation remotely, modernising internal workings of the society and strengthening links with our key partners remain ongoing projects, including the Ethnicity Outcomes Project with Anthony Nolan and other stake holders.



We hope that you all enjoy your well-deserved summer breaks.


Our very best wishes,


John Snowden, Kim Orchard, Fiona Dignan, Deborah Richardson, Eduardo Olavarria, & Julia Lee