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1.  Kitasato Symposium 2009: New Prospects for Cytokine Inhibition 
The Kitasato Symposium 2009: New Prospects for Cytokine Inhibition was held in Berlin, Germany from 7 to 9 May 2009. The key aims of this meeting were to bring together a group of front-line researchers and rheumatologists to evaluate the use of cytokine blockade and to examine the role of certain cytokines in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. A keynote lecture delivered by Professor Jean-Michel Dayer provided an up-to-date overview of the interactions occurring between the immune system and acute phase proteins. Other speakers discussed the role of cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis, including their role in joint destruction, as well as their regulatory role upon T cells and B cells. The involvement of cytokines in other autoimmune diseases was also addressed.
PMCID: PMC3003512  PMID: 20067593
2.  The Global Cancer Genomics Consortium’s Second Annual Symposium 
Genes & Cancer  2013;4(5-6):196-200.
The Second Annual Symposium of the Global Cancer Genomics Consortium (GCGC) was held at the Tata Memorial Center in Mumbai, India, from November 19 to 20, 2012. Founded in late 2010, the GCGC aims to provide a platform for highly productive, collaborative efforts on next-generation cancer research through bridging the latest scientific and technology developments with clinical oncology challenges. This year’s presenters brought together highly innovative interdisciplinary views and strategies to meet major challenges in cancer research. The symposium featured 3 major themes: OMICS approaches toward the identification of cancer molecular drivers, single-cell analysis in cancer, and clinical and translational genomics. Each theme was represented in presentations of new findings, with an obvious implication in cross-disciplinary components of OMICs and an overwhelming participation by students. In summary, the GCGC symposium provided a discussion and congregation of the latest advances in basic and translational cancer research and offered the participants with a highly cooperative network environment for future collaboration.
PMCID: PMC3782003
genomics medicine; anticancer target; cancer therapy
3.  2010 Keystone Symposium Meeting Report: Alzheimer’s disease beyond Aβ 
Many of the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) clinical trials have made it far enough down the pipeline to allow conclusions about targeting the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) as a therapeutic approach. Based on these results, it is becoming clear that a multifocal approach to AD treatment is probably necessary. However, critical discussion beyond Aβ is necessary to enable the next wave of AD therapeutic targets. For this reason, the 2010 Keystone Symposium, ‘Alzheimer’s Disease Beyond Aβ’, was organized by JoAnne McLaurin and Tony Wyss-Coray to spark topical discussion and debate. While researchers struggled to get beyond that ever-present pathognomonic feature of AD, new and exciting evidence was presented that raised our awareness of what is around the corner for next-generation AD therapeutics beyond Aβ. This report will describe some of the highlights from Copper Mountain Resort throughout the meeting period of 10–15 January 2010 in Colorado (USA). Despite illuminating scientific presentations and intense discussions, a number of important questions remain concerning the best biomarkers and targets to focus on, and when and how to therapeutically intervene.
PMCID: PMC2872183  PMID: 20429127
4.  2nd PEGS Annual Symposium on Antibodies for Cancer Therapy 
mAbs  2012;4(5):562-570.
The 2nd Annual Antibodies for Cancer Therapy symposium, organized again by Cambridge Healthtech Institute as part of the Protein Engineering Summit, was held in Boston, USA from April 30th to May 1st, 2012. Since the approval of the first cancer antibody therapeutic, rituximab, fifteen years ago, eleven have been approved for cancer therapy, although one, gemtuzumab ozogamicin, was withdrawn from the market.  The first day of the symposium started with a historical review of early work for lymphomas and leukemias and the evolution from murine to human antibodies. The symposium discussed the current status and future perspectives of therapeutic antibodies in the biology of immunoglobulin, emerging research on biosimilars and biobetters, and engineering bispecific antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates. The tumor penetration session was focused on the understanding of antibody therapy using ex vivo tumor spheroids and the development of novel agents targeting epithelial junctions in solid tumors. The second day of the symposium discussed the development of new generation recombinant immunotoxins with low immunogenicity, construction of chimeric antigen receptors, and the proof-of-concept of ‘photoimmunotherapy’. The preclinical and clinical session presented antibodies targeting Notch signaling and chemokine receptors.  Finally, the symposium discussed emerging technologies and platforms for therapeutic antibody discovery.
PMCID: PMC3499296  PMID: 22864478
antibody-drug conjugates; biosimilars; biobetters; bispecific antibodies; cetuximab/Erbitux; immunotoxins; monoclonal antibodies; rituximab/Rituxan; tumor penetration; trastuzumab/Herceptin
5.  Nutrition at school: preparing for the future. The Thirteenth Annual Nutrition Symposium. 
Public Health Reports  1994;109(5):706-709.
Two of the best ways to improve the quality of childhood nutrition are (a) more collaboration at the national, State, and local levels and (b) adoption of innovative and multimedia learning methods, according to the leaders of nutrition education. These themes were discussed at the 13th Annual Nutrition Symposium, which was held March 9, 1994, in Washington, DC. In recognition of National Nutrition Month, a collaborative effort of the Public Health Service's Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was attended by more than 300 public and private sector nutrition educators and public health professionals. Their assignment was to analyze school-based nutrition education programs and the research being conducted on nutrition. Keynote speaker Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Elders, MD, issued the challenge for all Federal and State agencies to work with schools and nutrition education professionals to overcome limited resources and children's current eating habits to improve the nutritional status of children. Responding to that challenge, speakers from the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency sponsoring the meeting, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education, as well as from the Congress, business, and public schools addressed several initiatives.
PMCID: PMC1403563  PMID: 7938395
6.  Highlights from the 2013 WIN Symposium: personalised cancer therapy from innovation to implementation 
ecancermedicalscience  2013;7:344.
The Worldwide Innovative Networking (WIN) consortium is a global alliance of academic and industrial cancer researchers, clinicians, and cancer advocacy groups set up to promote innovations in personalised cancer therapy and to accelerate the translation of research in this discipline into the oncology clinic. One of its most important initiatives is the WIN symposia, which have been held in Paris each summer since 2009. The fifth WIN symposium, which was held 10–12 July 2013, took as its overall theme ‘Personalised Cancer Therapy: From Innovation to Implementation’.
Over 400 delegates, including a good number of representatives of patient groups as well as leading academic, industrial, and clinical scientists; students; and post-docs attended this symposium. Its scientific programme featured thirty presentations divided into four main plenary sessions, and there was also a wide-ranging poster session that encompassed all the topics covered in the plenaries.
The programme structure followed the path of drug discovery, in that the first session covered assay development for personalised cancer medicine; the second, applications of genomics in oncology; the third, clinical development; and the fourth, the impact of personalised medicine on cancer care.
PMCID: PMC3756641  PMID: 24009643
biomarkers; personalised medicine; targeted therapy; genomics; proteomics
7.  Second International Lygus Symposium 
The Second International Lygus Symposium brought together 52 entomologists from six nations and 11 states representing universities, public agencies, and private entities to discuss the latest research on Lygus species and their relatives. Symposium topics included Lygus biology, behavior and ecology, IPM, insecticides and resistance, and biological control. Papers and posters dealt with Lygus as a pest of several crops, including cotton, strawberries, seed alfalfa, canola, dry beans, cucumbers, cereals, peaches, and new crops guayule and lesquerella. Intercrop movement of Lygus2008200820082008 species was another important topic of many presentations. In the capstone session, participants identified needs and priorities for ongoing Lygus research and education (available at The conference was sponsored in part by FMC Corporation, the University of Arizona Arizona Pest Management Center, the University of California Statewide IPM Program, and a grant to Ellsworth et al. (CRIS# 0207436) from the USDA-CSREES, Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Program (RAMP).
PMCID: PMC3127420
8.  Koch Institute Symposium on Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 
Cancer immunology research  2013;1:217-222.
The 12th annual summer symposium of The Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT was held in Cambridge, MA, on June 14th, 1023. The symposium entitled “Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy” focused on recent advances in preclinical research in basic immunology and biomedical engineering, and their clinical application in cancer therapies. The day-long gathering also provided a forum for discussion and potential collaborations between engineers and clinical investigators. The major topics presented include: (i) enhancement of adoptive cell therapy by engineering to improve the ability and functionality of T-cells against tumor cells; (ii) current therapies using protein and antibody therapeutics to modulate endogenous anti-tumor immunity; and (iii) new technologies to identify molecular targets and assess therapeutic efficacy, and devices to control and target drug delivery more effectively and efficiently.
PMCID: PMC3897860  PMID: 24466562
9.  Clinical trials in developing countries: Discussions at the '9th International Symposium on Long Term Clinical Trials', London, UK, 19-20 June 2000 
This symposium provided a useful forum for the discussion of issues relating to the design and conduct of clinical trials. There is a need for greater awareness of the complexity of modern day trials, in which a host of statistical, logistical, regulatory and ethical issues are involved. Issues discussed ranged from the effect of sample size on the outcome, and subgroup analysis, to defining and maintaining discrete endpoints. Some useful debate centred on the use of meta-analysis and the current limitations of combining information from different data sets. This brought up the subjects of trial registries and raw data repositories for all clinical trials. Progress and relevance of the Cochrane collaboration were reviewed. The economics of clinical trials was another important topic. Regulatory issues such as the role of data and safety monitoring boards (DSMB) and the guidelines in place for effective data monitoring and progress analysis were discussed. Representatives of government organisations and industry gave both European and American perspectives. This report however focuses specifically on the section devoted to the subject of clinical trials in developing countries.
PMCID: PMC59600  PMID: 11714410
clinical trial; developing countries; ethics; publishing; symposium
10.  The National Cancer Institute–American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Trial Accrual Symposium: Summary and Recommendations 
Journal of Oncology Practice  2013;9(6):267-276.
In 2010, the National Cancer Institute and the American Society of Clinical Oncology cosponsored a symposium to examine the state of clinical trial accrual science and identify opportunities to facilitate trial enrollment. The authors provide recommendations for best practices and for future research developed from the symposium.
Many challenges to clinical trial accrual exist, resulting in studies with inadequate enrollment and potentially delaying answers to important scientific and clinical questions.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) cosponsored the Cancer Trial Accrual Symposium: Science and Solutions on April 29-30, 2010 to examine the state of accrual science related to patient/community, physician/provider, and site/organizational influences, and identify new interventions to facilitate clinical trial enrollment. The symposium featured breakout sessions, plenary sessions, and a poster session including 100 abstracts. Among the 358 attendees were clinical investigators, researchers of accrual strategies, research administrators, nurses, research coordinators, patient advocates, and educators. A bibliography of the accrual literature in these three major areas was provided to participants in advance of the meeting. After the symposium, the literature in these areas was revisited to determine if the symposium recommendations remained relevant within the context of the current literature.
Few rigorously conducted studies have tested interventions to address challenges to clinical trials accrual. Attendees developed recommendations for improving accrual and identified priority areas for future accrual research at the patient/community, physician/provider, and site/organizational levels. Current literature continues to support the symposium recommendations.
A combination of approaches addressing both the multifactorial nature of accrual challenges and the characteristics of the target population may be needed to improve accrual to cancer clinical trials. Recommendations for best practices and for future research developed from the symposium are provided.
PMCID: PMC3825288  PMID: 24130252
11.  Conference Report: International Research Symposium on Ankyloblepharon-Ectodermal Defects-Cleft Lip and/or Palate (AEC) Syndrome 
Ankyloblepharon-Ectodermal Defects-Cleft Lip/Palate (AEC) Syndrome (Hay-Wells syndrome, MIM #106220) is a rare autosomal dominant ectodermal dysplasia syndrome. It is due to mutations in the p63 gene, known to be a regulatory gene with many downstream gene targets. TP63 is important in the differentiation and proliferation of the epidermis, as well as many other processes including limb and facial development. It is also known that mutations in p63 lead to skin erosions. These erosions, especially on the scalp, are defining features of AEC syndrome and cause significant morbidity and mortality in these patients. It was this fact that led to the 2003 AEC Skin Erosion Workshop. That conference laid the groundwork for the International Research Symposium for AEC Syndrome held at Texas Children's Hospital in 2006. The conference brought together the largest cohort of individuals with AEC syndrome, along with a multitude of physicians and scientists. The overarching goals were to define the clinical and pathologic findings for improved diagnostic criteria, to obtain tissue samples for further study and to define future research directions. The symposium was successful in accomplishing these aims as detailed in this conference report. Following our report, we also present eleven manuscripts within this special section that outline the collective clinical, pathologic and mutational data from eighteen individuals enrolled in the concurrent Baylor College of Medicine IRB-approved protocol: Characterization of AEC syndrome. These collaborative findings will hopefully provide a stepping stone to future translational projects of p63 and p63-related syndromes.
PMCID: PMC2736474  PMID: 19353643
ectodermal dysplasia; congenital ectodermal defect; skin; wound healing; p63; TP63; tumor protein p63; bone morphogenetic protein; BMP; fibroblast growth factor; FGF, ectodysplasin A receptor; EDAR; beta-catenin; NOTCH1; p53 apoptosis effector protein; Perp; activated protein kinase C; RACK1; stratifin; SFN; apobec-1-binding protein-1; ABBP1
12.  Advancing radiology through informed leadership: summary of the proceedings of the Seventh Biannual Symposium of the International Society for Strategic Studies in Radiology (IS3R), 23–25 August 2007 
European Radiology  2009;19(8):1827-1836.
The International Society for Strategic Studies in Radiology (IS3R) brings together thought leaders from academia and industry from around the world to share ideas, points of view and new knowledge. This article summarizes the main concepts presented at the 2007 IS3R symposium, providing a window onto trends shaping the future of radiology. Topics addressed include new opportunities and challenges in the field of interventional radiology; emerging techniques for evaluating and improving quality and safety in radiology; and factors impeding progress in molecular imaging and nanotechnology and possible ways to overcome them. Regulatory hurdles to technical innovation and drug development are also discussed more broadly, along with proposals for addressing regulators’ concerns and streamlining the regulatory process.
PMCID: PMC2705708  PMID: 19277668
Interventional radiology; Molecular imaging; Device approval processes; Drug approval processes; Health-care quality; Radiology; Leadership
13.  Philadelphia Chromosome Symposium: commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Ph chromosome 
Cancer genetics  2011;204(4):171-179.
This report summarizes highlights of the ‘Philadelphia Chromosome Symposium: Past, Present and Future’, held September 28, 2010, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Philadelphia chromosome. The symposium sessions included presentations by investigators who made seminal contributions concerning the discovery and molecular characterization of the Ph chromosome and others who developed a highly successful therapy based on the specific molecular alteration observed in chronic myelogenous leukemia. Additional presentations highlighted future opportunities for the design of molecularly targeted therapies for various types of cancer. Also included here are reminiscences connected with the discovery of the Ph chromosome by David Hungerford and Peter Nowell, the discovery that the abnormality arises from a chromosomal translocation, by Janet Rowley, and the cloning of the 9;22 translocation breakpoints by Nora Heisterkamp, John Groffen and colleagues.
PMCID: PMC3092778  PMID: 21536234
BCR; ABL; translocation; imatinib; targeted therapies
14.  Allocation of health care resources in the neonatal and perinatal area –CPS Symposium 1996 
Paediatrics & Child Health  1999;4(1):51-56.
There have been publically expressed concerns about the costs and allocation of neonatal and perinatal health care resources in Canada and elsewhere for the past 15 years. This paper reports information from a symposium held during the 1996 Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) annual meeting sponsored by the CPS Section on Perinatal Medicine. Experts in perinatal epidemiology, health care economics, public policy and finance, and consumer perspectives on the outcomes of neonatal and perinatal intensive care explored the following questions: How should the need for health care resources in the neonatal and perinatal area be objectively determined? When there are competing needs between the maternal-newborn area and other areas, how should these be rationalized? What evidence should be used (or should be available) to support the present use of resources? What evidence should be available (or is needed) to change or introduce new uses of resources? The conclusions indicated that there are no generally accepted methods to determine the allocation of health care resources but that considerations need to include population characteristics, desired outcomes, achievable results, values, ethics, legalities, cost-benefit analyses and political objectives. Information from families and adolescents who required the use of high technology and/or high cost programs will contribute individual, family and societal values that complement cost-efficacy analyses.
PMCID: PMC2828227  PMID: 20212990
Allocation of resources; Health care funding; Neonatal care
15.  The USCACA hosted symposiums at the 7th CACA annual meeting and the 15th CSCO annual meeting in Beijing 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2012;31(11):505-506.
In September 2012, the US Chinese Anti-Cancer Association (USCACA) hosted two symposiums in Beijing. The USCACA hosted the first joint session at the 7th annual meetings of the Chinese Anti-Cancer Association (CACA), themed on “Collaboration between the US and China in Cancer Research.” Six experts from the United States and China presented their latest work on basic and translational cancer research. During this symposium, 5 young Chinese scholars, returnees after their training in the United States, were honored the “AFCR-USCACA Scholarships Award.” The USCACA hosted a second symposium during the 15th annual meeting of the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology (CSCO), focused on the “US-China Collaboration in Cancer Drug Clinical Development.” An international delegation of oncology experts presented the innovative clinical trial strategies and discussed the biomarkers for cancer early detection and clinical trials, targeted therapy, and new drug development. The Oncology Drug Clinical Development and Safety Evaluation Committee was also launched to promote an innovative environment and to provide a collaborative platform for anti-cancer drug development in China.
PMCID: PMC3777516  PMID: 23121765
16.  ESF-EMBO Symposium “Molecular Biology and Innovative Therapies in Sarcomas of Childhood and Adolescence” Sept 29–Oct 4, Polonia Castle Pultusk, Poland 
Frontiers in Oncology  2013;3:142.
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) and Ewing sarcoma (ES) are among the most common pediatric sarcomas (Arndt et al., 2012). Despite sarcomas representing a highly heterogeneous group of tumors, ES and alveolar RMS (ARMS) typically share one common genetic characteristic, namely a specific chromosomal translocation (Helman and Meltzer, 2003; Lessnick and Ladanyi, 2012). These translocations generate fusion proteins, which are composed of two transcription factors (TF). Typically, one TF is a developmentally regulated factor that is essential for proper specification of a given lineage and provides the DNA-binding domain, while the partner TF contributes a transactivation domain that drives aberrant expression of target genes. Based on these common genetic characteristics, the first ESF-EMBO research conference entitled “Molecular Biology and Innovative Therapies in Sarcomas of Childhood and Adolescence” with special focus on RMS and ES was held at the Polonia Castle in Pultusk, Poland. The conference gathered 70 participants from more than 15 countries and several continents representing most research groups that are active in this field.
PMCID: PMC3671287  PMID: 23761860
Rhabdomyosarcoma; Ewing sarcoma; therapeutics; PAX3/FOXO1; EWS/Fli1
17.  Neuroblastoma Progress on Many Fronts: The Neuroblastoma Research Symposium 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2011;58(4):649-651.
Neuroblastoma is a pediatric tumor of infancy derived from precursor cells of the sympathetic nervous system. Clinicians and researchers in developmental biology and genetics recently met to facilitate meaningful crosstalk and to discuss considerable progress made in the clinical treatment and basic biology of neuroblastoma. For instance, discoveries in familial neuroblastoma have identified genetic aberrations in Phox2b and Alk that predispose to neuroblastoma, while advances in epigenetics and MYCN regulation have also offered insight into neuroblastoma pathogenesis and future treatment. Moreover, novel therapeutic avenues are also being explored, including targeted immunotherapies, and innovative radiotherapeutic and chemotherapeutic approaches. This multi-disciplinary meeting was convened to aid the transfer of new biological findings into the clinic and to use clinical advances to inform the basic biological understanding of this devastating disease.
PMCID: PMC3243773  PMID: 21922652
Neuroblastoma; Neuroblastoma biology; Molecular biology of neuroblastoma
18.  Ectopic Lymphoid Structures Support Ongoing Production of Class-Switched Autoantibodies in Rheumatoid Synovium 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(1):e1.
Follicular structures resembling germinal centres (GCs) that are characterized by follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks have long been recognized in chronically inflamed tissues in autoimmune diseases, including the synovium of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, it is debated whether these ectopic structures promote autoimmunity and chronic inflammation driving the production of pathogenic autoantibodies. Anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies (ACPA) are highly specific markers of RA, predict a poor prognosis, and have been suggested to be pathogenic. Therefore, the main study objectives were to determine whether ectopic lymphoid structures in RA synovium: (i) express activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), the enzyme required for somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination (CSR) of Ig genes; (ii) support ongoing CSR and ACPA production; and (iii) remain functional in a RA/severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) chimera model devoid of new immune cell influx into the synovium.
Methods and Findings
Using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantitative Taqman real-time PCR (QT-PCR) in synovial tissue from 55 patients with RA, we demonstrated that FDC+ structures invariably expressed AID with a distribution resembling secondary lymphoid organs. Further, AID+/CD21+ follicular structures were surrounded by ACPA+/CD138+ plasma cells, as demonstrated by immune reactivity to citrullinated fibrinogen. Moreover, we identified a novel subset of synovial AID+/CD20+ B cells outside GCs resembling interfollicular large B cells. In order to gain direct functional evidence that AID+ structures support CSR and in situ manufacturing of class-switched ACPA, 34 SCID mice were transplanted with RA synovium and humanely killed at 4 wk for harvesting of transplants and sera. Persistent expression of AID and Iγ-Cμ circular transcripts (identifying ongoing IgM-IgG class-switching) was observed in synovial grafts expressing FDCs/CD21L. Furthermore, synovial mRNA levels of AID were closely associated with circulating human IgG ACPA in mouse sera. Finally, the survival and proliferation of functional B cell niches was associated with persistent overexpression of genes regulating ectopic lymphoneogenesis.
Our demonstration that FDC+ follicular units invariably express AID and are surrounded by ACPA-producing plasma cells provides strong evidence that ectopic lymphoid structures in the RA synovium are functional and support autoantibody production. This concept is further confirmed by evidence of sustained AID expression, B cell proliferation, ongoing CSR, and production of human IgG ACPA from GC+ synovial tissue transplanted into SCID mice, independently of new B cell influx from the systemic circulation. These data identify AID as a potential therapeutic target in RA and suggest that survival of functional synovial B cell niches may profoundly influence chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, and response to B cell–depleting therapies.
Costantino Pitzalis and colleagues show that lymphoid structures in synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis support production of anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies, which continues following transplantation into SCID mice.
Editors' Summary
More than 1 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis, an “autoimmune” condition that affects the joints. Normally, the immune system provides protection against infection by responding to foreign antigens (molecules that are unique to invading organisms) while ignoring self-antigens present in the body's own tissues. In autoimmune diseases, this ability to discriminate between self and non-self fails for unknown reasons and the immune system begins to attack human tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the joints (the synovium) is attacked, it becomes inflamed and thickened, and chemicals are released that damage all the tissues in the joint. Eventually, the joint may become so scarred that movement is no longer possible. Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts in the small joints in the hands and feet, but larger joints and other tissues (including the heart and blood vessels) can be affected. Its symptoms, which tend to fluctuate, include early morning joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, and feeling generally unwell. Although the disease is not always easy to diagnose, the immune systems of many people with rheumatoid arthritis make “anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies” (ACPA). These “autoantibodies” (which some experts believe can contribute to the joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis) recognize self-proteins that contain the unusual amino acid citrulline, and their detection on blood tests can help make the diagnosis. Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the recently developed biologic drugs, often used together with the more traditional disease-modifying therapies, are able to halt its progression by specifically blocking the chemicals that cause joint damage. Painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce its symptoms, and badly damaged joints can sometimes be surgically replaced.
Why Was This Study Done?
Before scientists can develop a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, they need to know how and why autoantibodies are made that attack the joints in this common and disabling disease. B cells, the immune system cells that make antibodies, mature in structures known as “germinal centers” in the spleen and lymph nodes. In the germinal centers, immature B cells are exposed to antigens and undergo two genetic processes called “somatic hypermutation” and “class-switch recombination” that ensure that each B cell makes an antibody that sticks as tightly as possible to just one antigen. The B cells then multiply and enter the bloodstream where they help to deal with infections. Interestingly, the inflamed synovium of many patients with rheumatoid arthritis contains structures that resemble germinal centers. Could these ectopic (misplaced) lymphoid structures, which are characterized by networks of immune system cells called follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), promote autoimmunity and long-term inflammation by driving the production of autoantibodies within the joint itself? In this study, the researchers investigate this possibility.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected synovial tissue from 55 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and used two approaches, called immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR, to investigate whether FDC-containing structures in synovium expressed an enzyme called activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), which is needed for both somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination. All the FDC-containing structures that the researchers found in their samples expressed AID. Furthermore, these AID-containing structures were surrounded by mature B cells making ACPAs. To test whether these B cells were derived from AID-expressing cells resident in the synovium rather than ACPA-expressing immune system cells coming into the synovium from elsewhere in the body, the researchers transplanted synovium from patients with rheumatoid arthritis under the skin of a special sort of mouse that largely lacks its own immune system. Four weeks later, the researchers found that the transplanted human lymphoid tissue was still making AID, that the level of AID expression correlated with the amount of human ACPA in the blood of the mice, and that the B cells in the transplant were proliferating.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the ectopic lymphoid structures present in the synovium of some patients with rheumatoid arthritis are functional and are able to make ACPA. Because ACPA may be responsible for joint damage, the survival of these structures could, therefore, be involved in the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis. More experiments are needed to confirm this idea, but these findings may explain why drugs that effectively clear B cells from the bloodstream do not always produce a marked clinical improvement in rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, they suggest that AID might provide a new target for the development of drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Rene Toes and Tom Huizinga
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on rheumatoid arthritis (in English and Spanish). MedlinePlus provides links to other information on rheumatoid arthritis (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices information service has detailed information on rheumatoid arthritis
The US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases provides Fast Facts, an easy to read publication for the public, and a more detailed Handbook on rheumatoid arthritis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an overview on rheumatoid arthritis that includes statistics about this disease and its impact on daily life
PMCID: PMC2621263  PMID: 19143467
19.  Highlights from the 6th International Society for Computational Biology Student Council Symposium at the 18th Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology 
BMC Bioinformatics  2010;11(Suppl 10):I1.
This meeting report gives an overview of the keynote lectures and a selection of the student oral and poster presentations at the 6th International Society for Computational Biology Student Council Symposium that was held as a precursor event to the annual international conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB). The symposium was held in Boston, MA, USA on July 9th, 2010.
PMCID: PMC3226177
20.  Highlights from the ISCB Student Council Symposium 2013 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15(Suppl 3):A1.
This report summarizes the scientific content and activities of the annual symposium organized by the Student Council of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), held in conjunction with the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) / European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB) conference in Berlin, Germany, on July 19, 2013.
PMCID: PMC4079984  PMID: 25077567
21.  Mutations with epigenetic effects in myeloproliferative neoplasms and recent progress in treatment: Proceedings from the 5th International Post-ASH Symposium 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(3):e7-.
Immediately following the 2010 annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting, the 5th International Post-ASH Symposium on Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia and BCR-ABL1-Negative Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs) took place on 7–8 December 2010 in Orlando, Florida, USA. During this meeting, the most recent advances in laboratory research and clinical practice, including those that were presented at the 2010 ASH meeting, were discussed among recognized authorities in the field. The current paper summarizes the proceedings of this meeting in BCR-ABL1-negative MPN. We provide a detailed overview of new mutations with putative epigenetic effects (TET oncogene family member 2 (TET2), additional sex comb-like 1 (ASXL1), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) and enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2)) and an update on treatment with Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, pomalidomide, everolimus, interferon-α, midostaurin and cladribine. In addition, the new ‘Dynamic International Prognostic Scoring System (DIPSS)-plus' prognostic model for primary myelofibrosis (PMF) and the clinical relevance of distinguishing essential thrombocythemia from prefibrotic PMF are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3255279  PMID: 23471017
myeloproliferative; myelofibrosis; polycythemia; thrombocythemia; mastocytosis
22.  Proceedings of the 2010 National Toxicology Program Satellite Symposium 
Toxicologic pathology  2010;39(1):240-266.
The 2010 annual National Toxicology Program (NTP) Satellite Symposium, entitled “Pathology Potpourri,” was held in Chicago, Illinois, in advance of the scientific symposium sponsored jointly by the Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP) and the International Federation of Societies of Toxicologic Pathologists (IFSTP). The goal of the annual NTP Symposium is to present current diagnostic pathology or nomenclature issues to the toxicologic pathology community. This article presents summaries of the speakers' presentations, including diagnostic or nomenclature issues that were presented, along with select images that were used for voting or discussion. Some topics covered during the symposium included a comparison of rat and mouse hepatocholangiocarcinoma, a comparison of cholangiofibrosis and cholangiocarcinoma in rats, a mixed pancreatic neoplasm with acinar and islet cell components, an unusual preputial gland tumor, renal hyaline glomerulopathy in rats and mice, eosinophilic substance in the nasal septum of mice, INHAND nomenclature for proliferative and nonproliferative lesions of the CNS/PNS, retinal gliosis in a rat, fibroadnexal hamartoma in rats, intramural plaque in a mouse, a treatment-related chloracne-like lesion in mice, and an overview of mouse ovarian tumors.
PMCID: PMC3096448  PMID: 21177527
NTP Satellite Symposium; INHAND nomenclature; hepatocholangiocarcinoma; acinar-islet cell; preputial gland; hyaline glomerulopathy; eosinophilic substance; ependymoma; axonal degeneration; retinal gliosis; fibroadnexal hamartoma; intramural plaque; chloracne; ovary; cholangiocarcinoma
23.  Young women and breast cancer: challenges and answers—report from the Sixth Annual International Symposium, Mexico, 20–21 October 2014 
ecancermedicalscience  2014;8:495.
Tómatelo a Pecho, Funsalud, the Harvard Global Equity Initiative, and the Mexican Ministry of Health led a group of institutions in organising the Sixth Annual International Symposium marking breast cancer awareness month in Mexico on 20–21 October 2014. This year’s event, with the theme ‘Young Women and Breast Cancer: Challenges and Answers’, took place at the National Institute of Perinatology in Mexico City.
This was the first time the symposium focused almost entirely on young women. The reasons for this emphasis were reported on by many national and global experts, who also presented evidence to show that breast cancer has become a leading cause of death among younger women in Mexico, and conveyed the benefits of early breast cancer detection and the need to create innovative solutions for care and survivorship support for this age group.
Over the course of one-and-a-half days, the symposium covered a wide range of topics and perspectives, including the epidemiology, biology, and genetics of breast cancer; challenges; and innovative answers to early detection and the myriad of short- and long-term challenges faced by patients with breast cancer, such as some cutting-edge techniques used to preserve fertility in women undergoing chemotherapy.
How the presence of local and global stakeholders will ensure the accountability of the multiple participants already immersed in the various areas of research and activities related to breast cancer. The voices of the Ministry of Health and of other institutions central to the Mexican health system show that there is a political will for work in this area, and there are the means to make a change happen.
PMCID: PMC4303609  PMID: 25624876
breast cancer; young women; early detection; survivorship
24.  Report of an international symposium on narrowing the Gap in the treatment and study of SLE worldwide: minimum best practices in the management and monitoring of moderate to severe SLE and improving outcomes in constrained environments 
Disparities in health outcomes occur in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) especially in economically disadvantaged populations. At the 9th International Congress on SLE, June 24–27, 2010, held in Vancouver, British Columbia, a symposium “Narrowing the Gap in the Treatment and Study of SLE worldwide” was held. Participating physicians from the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia, Portugal, Africa and impoverished areas of the United States detailed their constraints and desires. These were remarkably consistent. Out of these discussions, a statement on minimum best practice was put forth aimed at the cost-effective management of SLE focusing on the critical factors that make a difference and are feasible even in the most challenging environments. Approaches to designing studies and establishing research and mentoring collaborations was also discussed. The ultimate aim was to provide an avenue for the improvement of care and outcomes for patients with SLE worldwide.
PMCID: PMC3261257  PMID: 21505771
SLE; Best practice; Health disparities; Rheumatology
25.  The Precarious State of the Liver After a Fontan Operation: Summary of a Multidisciplinary Symposium 
Pediatric Cardiology  2012;33(7):1001-1012.
As the cohort of survivors with the single-ventricle type of congenital heart disease grows, it becomes increasingly evident that the state of chronically elevated venous pressure and decreased cardiac output inherent in the Fontan circulation provides the substrate for a progressive decline in functional status. One organ at great risk is the liver. Wedged between two capillary beds, with the pulmonary venous bed downstream, which typically has no pulsatile energy added in the absence of a functional right ventricle, and the splanchnic bed upstream, which may have compromised inflow due to inherent cardiac output restriction characteristic of the Fontan circulation, the liver exists in a precarious state. This review summarizes a consensus view achieved at a multidisciplinary symposium held at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in June 2011. The discussion includes current knowledge concerning the hemodynamic foundations of liver problems, the diagnostic tools available, the unique histopathology of the liver after the Fontan operation, and proposed mechanisms for hepatic fibrosis at the cellular level. At the completion of the symposium, a consensus recommendation was made by the authors’ group to pursue a new prospective protocol for clinical evaluation of the liver for all patients in our practice 10 years after the Fontan operation.
PMCID: PMC3442163  PMID: 22534759
Decreased cardiac output; Elevated venous pressure; Fontan operation; Hepatic fibrosis; Liver

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