Long before the TCT Meetings of ASBMT and CIBMTR became what it is today, it was just a small meeting of friends during a ski trip.
There wasn’t a name to those first few meetings. More than 10 years before the “official” meetings would kick off—then known as the Tandem Meetings—a group of physicians and researchers met to discuss emerging BMT and cellular therapies.
Among them was Olle Ringdén, MD, PhD. In 1980, Ringdén hopped on a plane from Sweden—his home country—to Keystone, Colorado. He was encouraged to attend by renowned physicians Robert Gale, MD, PhD; and Richard Champlin, MD.
“I had started a new center in Sweden,” Ringdén recalled. “It was important to participate in international participation. Coming from a small unit, I also realized that by multicenter collaboration, I could get answers for scientific questions where our own patient material was too small.”
Since then, Ringdén has attended 39 meetings. He’s seen all the transformations: the attendance growth, the evolving science, the change of names and leaders. Despite all this, Ringdén is still a devoted attendee. His most recent meeting was this February in Houston, where he took in the latest science and caught up with colleagues and friends.
“There are many highlights of the Tandem, now TCT meetings,” he said. “The latest in the field is presented. It is great fun to participate in the working committee meetings and the discussion around the proposals. And last but not least, it is great fun to meet with old friends.”
Ringdén’s resume is impressive. Now a professor of transplant immunology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, he’s studied in both Europe and the U.S. He met many of the founding members of ASBMT and CIBMTR during his postdoctoral studies in Seattle. He’s grown so close with some of them, he said he would take his family to vacation in Milwaukee (one of CIBMTR’s headquarters).
Ringdén chaired one of CIBMTR’s working committees in the 1980s, and was the chairman of the GVHD working committee of the IBMTR and CIBMTR. Under his leadership, the committee began using teleconferences to fill in the gaps between meetings—something Ringdén is very proud of.
“Collaboration is the way forward and the development in the field of HSCT,” he said. “For the gain of our patients, survival has increased dramatically in recent years.”
Next year will mark Ringdén’s 40th meeting, and you can bet he will be there.
“These meetings have been the best meetings in HSCT,” he said.