The Second Kitasato Symposium: New Prospects for Cytokines brought together researchers and rheumatologists to consider the essential role of cytokines in health and their contributions to autoimmunity. Topics addressed during the Symposium - which was held in Berlin, Germany from 27 to 29 May 2010 - included established and new cytokine targets in arthritis and autoimmunity and innovative aspects of osteoimmunology as well as current perspectives from translational and clinical studies. The keynote lecture, delivered by George Kollias, focused on insights gained from animal models into the mechanisms of TNF function in chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. The presentations at the Symposium resulted in productive discussions regarding potential new targets for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders.
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.
Calls have been made for governments to adopt a cohesive approach to rare diseases through the development of national plans. At present, Australia does not have a national plan for rare diseases. To progress such a plan an inaugural Australian Rare Diseases Symposium was held in Western Australia in April 2011. This paper describes the key issues identified by symposium attendees for the development of a national plan, compares these to the content of EUROPLAN and national plans elsewhere and discusses how the outcomes might be integrated for national planning.
The symposium was comprised of a series of plenary sessions followed by workshops. The topics covered were; 1) Development of national plans for rare diseases; 2) Patient empowerment; 3) Patient care, support and management; 4) Research and translation; 5) Networks, partnerships and collaboration. All stakeholders within the rare diseases community were invited to participate, including: people affected by rare diseases such as patients, carers, and families; clinicians and allied health practitioners; social and disability services; researchers; patient support groups; industry (e.g. pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies); regulators and policy-makers.
All of these stakeholder groups were represented at the symposium. Workshop participants indicated the need for a national plan, a national peak body, a standard definition of ‘rare diseases’, education campaigns, lobbying of government, research infrastructure, streamlined whole-of-lifetime service provision, case co-ordination, early diagnosis, support for health professionals and dedicated funding.
These findings are consistent with frameworks and initiatives being undertaken internationally (such as EUROPLAN), and with national plans in other countries. This implies that the development of an Australian national plan could plausibly draw on frameworks for plan development that have been proposed for use in other jurisdictions. The translation of the symposium outcomes to government policy (i.e. a national plan) requires the consideration of several factors such as the under-representation of some stakeholder groups (e.g. clinicians) and the current lack of evidence required to translate some of the symposium outcomes to policy options. The acquisition of evidence provides a necessary first step in a comprehensive planning approach.
National plan; Rare diseases; Stakeholder consultation
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.
Decreased cardiac output; Elevated venous pressure; Fontan operation; Hepatic fibrosis; Liver
This study examined the impact of platelet transfusion (PLT) on the survival of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) patients who had been administered anti-platelet agents (APA). This retrospective cohort analysis investigated 432 patients (259 men, 60%) who were newly diagnosed with ICH between January 2006 and June 2011 at the tertiary emergency center of Kitasato University Hospital. Median age on arrival was 67.0 years (range, 40–95 years). ICH was subcortical in 72 patients (16.7%), supratentorial in 233 (53.9%), and infratentorial in 133 (30.8%). PLT was performed in 16 patients (3.7%). Within 90 days after admission to the center, 178 patients (41.2%) had died due to ICH. Before the onset of ICH, 66 patients had been prescribed APA because of atherosclerotic diseases. Multivariate regression analysis indicated APA administration was an independent risk factor for death within 7 days (odds ratio, 5.12; P = 0.006) and within 90 days (hazard ratio, 1.87; P = 0.006) after arrival. Regarding the effect of a PLT in ICH patients with APA, no patient with PLT died. PLT had a survival benefit on patients with ICH, according to our analysis. Further prospective analysis is necessary to confirm the effects of PLT on survival in ICH with APA.
The Student Council (SC) of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) organized their annual symposium in conjunction with the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) conference.
This meeting report summarizes the scientific content of the Student Council Symposium 2011 as well as other activities organized by the Student Council in the context of ISMB. The symposium was held in Vienna, Austria on July 15th 2011.
Clinical translational medicine (CTM) is an emerging area comprising multidisciplinary research from basic science to medical applications and entails a close collaboration among hospital, academia and industry.
This Session focused discussing on new models for project development and promotion in translational medicine. The conference stimulated the scientific and commercial communication of project development between academies and companies, shared the advanced knowledge and expertise of clinical applications, and created the environment for collaborations.
Although strategic collaborations between corporate and academic institutions have resulted in a state of resurgence in the market, new cooperation models still need time to tell whether they will improve the translational medicine process.
Because of the economic growth and changes in lifestyle, metabolic diseases have become a major public health problem, which impose heavy economic burdens on individuals, families and health systems. However, its precise mediators and mechanisms remain to be fully understood. Clinical translational medicine (CTM) is an emerging area comprising multidisciplinary research from basic science to medical applications and as a new tool to improve human health by reducing disease incidence, morbidity and mortality. It can bridge knowledge of metabolic diseases processes, gained by in vitro and experimental animal models, with the disease pathways found in humans, further to identify their susceptibility genes and enable patients to achieve personalized medicament treatment. Thus, we have the reasons to believe that CTM will play even more roles in the development of new diagnostics, therapies, healthcare, and policies and the Sino-American Symposium on Clinical and Translational Medicine (SAS-CTM) will become a more and more important platform for exchanging ideas on clinical and translational research and entails a close collaboration among hospital, academia and industry.
Metabolic diseases; Clinical translational medicine; Hepatotoxicity; Colorectal cancer; Obesity; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; microRNAs
The Global Cancer Genomics Consortium (GCGC) is a cohesive network of oncologists, cancer biologists and structural and genomic experts residing in six institutions from Portugal, United Kingdom, Japan, India, and United States. The team is using its combined resources and infrastructures to address carefully selected, shared, burning questions in cancer medicine. The Third Annual Symposium was organized by the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Lisbon Medical School, Lisbon, Portugal, from September 18 to 20, 2013. To highlight the benefits and limitations of recent advances in cancer genomics, the meeting focused on how to better translate our gains in oncogenomics to cancer patients while engaging our younger colleagues in cancer medicine at-large. Over two hundreds participants actively discussed some of the most recent advances in the areas cancer genomics, transcriptomics and cancer system biology and how to best apply such knowledge to cancer therapeutics, biomarkers discovery and drug development, and an essential role played by bio-banking throughout the process. In brief, the GCGC symposium provided a platform for students and translational cancer researchers to share their excitement and worries as we are beginning to translate the gains in oncogenomics to a better cancer patient treatment.
Oncogenomics; Cancer Biomarkers; Cancer Therapy
This perspective piece explores what it means to be a first-year medical student at Yale School of Medicine during its bicentennial year. At first, it seemed like a hefty burden to bear. However, upon listening to Dr. Eric Kandel speak at the Bicentennial Symposium at Yale on April 28, 2011, it became clear what it means to be a part of the future of science and medicine at Yale.
perspective; opinion; medical student; Yale; symposium
The 16th International Symposium on Cells of the Hepatic Sinusoid (ISCHS) took place in Florence, Italy on 22-24 September 2011. This symposium is a multidisciplinary meeting where new and important findings on the biology of liver cells are presented and discussed.
Nearly all commercially available glucose sensors share the subcutaneous interstitial fluid (ISF) compartment as their preferred implantation site. However, ISF physiology as it relates to glucose sensors is not well understood. This special symposium titled “Interstitial Fluid Physiology as It Relates to Glucose Monitoring Technologies” is intended to help to bridge the gap in our understanding. This symposium is intended to foster a greater understanding of biological factors that impact the success of implantable glucose monitors and to inspire additional research in the area of ISF physiology as it relates to glucose sensing. Recognition that sensor designers need to have an intimate understanding of the biological environment in which their sensor will reside is emphasized. The symposium is published in two parts, with part I published in September 2010 and part II published in May 2011. All articles published in this symposium are summarized herein.
artificial pancreas; continuous glucose monitoring; extracellular matrix; foreign body response; interstitial fluid
Gait and balance measures have particular potential as outcome measures in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) because, of the many hallmarks of MS disability, gait and balance dysfunction are present throughout the course of the disease, impact many aspects of a person's life, and progress over time. To highlight the importance and relevance of gait and balance measures in MS, explore novel measurements of gait and balance in MS, and discuss how gait, balance, and fall measures can best be used and developed in clinical and research settings, the 1st International Symposium on Gait and Balance in Multiple Sclerosis was held in Portland, Oregon, USA on October 1, 2011. This meeting brought together nearly 100 neurologists, physiatrists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, engineers, and others to discuss the current status and recent advances in the measurement of gait and balance in MS. Presentations focused on clinician-administered, self-administered, and instrumented measures of gait, balance, and falls in MS.
The rising concerns for future health burden of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in global scale has continuously encouraged preventing measures particularly public awareness programs. There is an increasing necessity for allocating HCV awareness issues in public scope, especially for high risk populations and patients. Proper knowledge of health care professionals and treating physicians and their attitude with regard to hepatitis C management is also crucial. Achieving this can be a constructive step forward in controlling and hopefully eradicating hepatitis C virus in our community. Having a clear scientific grasp on treatment options and protocols, the concept of “CURE” achievement in hepatitis C and the future hopes in enhancing virological response with the coming direct antiviral agents can significantly add to the current practices of treating hepatitis C. This scientific report paper outlines the insights communicated at the HCV symposium during the 4th Tehran Hepatitis Congress, November 2011, Tehran, Iran.
Hepatitis C; Congresses; Iran
The International Society for Strategic Studies in Radiology held its 9th biennial meeting in August 2011. The focus of the programme was integrated diagnostics and massive computing. Participants discussed the opportunities, challenges, and consequences for the discipline of radiology that will likely arise from the integration of diagnostic technologies. Diagnostic technologies are increasing in scope, including advanced imaging techniques, new molecular imaging agents, and sophisticated point-of-use devices. Advanced information technology (IT), which is increasingly influencing the practice of medicine, will aid clinical communication and the development of “population images” that represent the phenotype of particular diseases, which will aid the development of diagnostic algorithms. Integrated diagnostics offer increased operational efficiency and benefits to patients through quicker and more accurate diagnoses. As physicians with the most expertise in IT, radiologists are well placed to take the lead in introducing IT solutions and cloud computing to promote integrated diagnostics. To achieve this, radiologists must adapt to include quantitative data on biomarkers in their reports. Radiologists must also increase their role as participating physicians, collaborating with other medical specialties, not only to avoid being sidelined by other specialties but also to better prepare as leaders in the selection and sequence of diagnostic procedures.
• New diagnostic technologies are yielding unprecedented amounts of diagnostic information.
• Advanced IT/cloud computing will aid integration and analysis of diagnostic data.
• Better diagnostic algorithms will lead to faster diagnosis and more rapid treatment.
Radiology; Diagnostic techniques and procedures; Informatics; Algorithms; Efficiency; Organizational
The 2011 annual National Toxicology Program (NTP) Satellite Symposium, entitled “Pathology Potpourri,” was held in Denver, Colorado in advance of the Society of Toxicologic Pathology’s 30th Annual Meeting. The goal of the 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 audience voting or discussion. Some lesions and topics covered during the symposium include: proliferative lesions from various fish species including ameloblastoma, gas gland hyperplasia, nodular regenerative hepatocellular hyperplasia, and malignant granulosa cell tumor; spontaneous cystic hyperplasia in the stomach of CD1 mice and histiocytic aggregates in the duodenal villous tips of treated mice; an olfactory neuroblastoma in a cynomolgus monkey; various rodent skin lesions, including follicular parakeratotic hyperkeratosis, adnexal degeneration, and epithelial intracytoplasmic accumulations; oligodendroglioma and microgliomas in rats; a diagnostically challenging microcytic, hypochromic, responsive anemia in rats; a review of microcytes and microcytosis; nasal lesions associated with green tea extract and Ginkgo biloba in rats; corneal dystrophy in Dutch belted rabbits; valvulopathy in rats; and lymphoproliferative disease in a cynomolgus monkey.
NTP Satellite Symposium; ameloblastoma; gas gland hyperplasia; stomach cystic hyperplasia; sodium dichromate dihydrate; olfactory neuroblastoma; cynomolgus monkey; adnexal degeneration; parakeratotic hyperkeratosis; oligodendroglioma; microglioma; microcytic hypochromic anemia; microcytosis; spherocytosis; poikilocytosis; green tea; Ginkgo biloba; corneal dystrophy; Dutch belted rabbit valvulitis; valvulopathy; post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease
Immediately after the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), a select group of clinical and laboratory investigators in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) is summoned to a post-ASH conference on chronic myeloid leukemia and the BCR-ABL1-negative MPN. The 6th such meeting occurred on 13th–14th December 2011, in La Jolla, California, USA, under the direction of its founder, Dr. Tariq Mughal. The current document is the first of two reports on this post-ASH event and summarizes the most recent preclinical and clinical advances in polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia and primary myelofibrosis.
ASXL1; EZH2; JAK2; myelofibrosis; myeloproliferative neoplasms; TET2; thrombocythemia
Benign liver lesions are common incidental radiologic findings.
Experts convened in 2011 at a Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract/ Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association joint symposium to discuss the evaluation and treatment of benign liver lesions.
Most benign liver lesions can be accurately diagnosed with high-quality imaging, including ultrasonography, multiphase computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging, particularly with hepatocyte-specific contrast agents. Percutaneous biopsy is reserved for lesions that cannot be characterized radiographically, and its accuracy is improved with immunophenotypic markers. Hepatic cysts are the most commonly diagnosed benign liver lesions; these must be distinguished from malignant cystic lesions, which are rare. Among the solid benign liver lesions, hemangiomas and focal nodular hyperplasia seldom require treatment. In contrast, hepatocellular adenomas are associated with a risk for complications. A new classification system for hepatocellular adenomas based on genetic and phenotypic features can help guide patient care. In patients who are symptomatic or at risk for complications, multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment based on clinicopathologic, radiographic, and molecular analysis is needed.
Most benign liver lesions can be accurately diagnosed radiographically and do not require treatment. Treatment is necessary for patients with symptoms or at risk for complications.
Liver; cyst; hemangioma; adenoma; focal nodular hyperplasia
The “Cheminformatics aspects of high throughput screening (HTS): from robots to models” symposium was part of the Computers in Chemistry (COMP) technical program at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Denver, Colorado during the fall of 2011. This symposium brought together researchers from high throughput screening centersand molecular modelers from academia and industry to discuss the integration of currently available high throughput screening data and assays with computational analysis. The topics discussed at this symposium covered the data-infrastructure at various academic, hospital, and NIH-funded high throughput screening centers, the cheminformatics and molecular modeling methods used in real world examples to guide screening and hit-finding, and how academic and non-profit organizations can benefit from current high throughput screening cheminformatics resources. Specifically, this article also covers the remarks and discussions in the open panel discussion in thesymposium and summarizes the following talks on “Accurate Kinase virtual screening: biochemical, cellular and selectivity”, “Selective, privileged and promiscuous chemical patterns in high-throughput screening” and “Visualizing and exploring relationships among HTS hits using network graphs”.
Cheminformatics; high throughput screening; molecular modeling; data-infrastructure
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.
genomics medicine; anticancer target; cancer therapy
Testicular toxicity is an important safety endpoint in drug development and risk assessment, but reliable and translatable biomarkers for predicting injury have eluded researchers. However, this area shows great potential for improvement, with several avenues currently being pursued. This was the topic of a symposium session during the 2013 Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX, entitled “Translatable Indicators of Testicular Toxicity: Inhibin B, MicroRNAs, and Sperm Signatures.” This symposium brought together stakeholders from academia, government, and industry to present the limitations and drawbacks of currently used indicators of injury and discussed the ongoing efforts in developing more predictive biomarkers of injury. The presentations highlighted the early challenges of using circulating inhibin B and microRNA levels, and sperm messenger RNA transcript abundance and DNA methylation profiles, as novel biomarkers of testicular toxicity.
biomarkers; testicular toxicity; inhibin B; microRNA; sperm.
The San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is the largest annual meeting devoted solely to breast cancer research. The late William L McGuire's vision for this meeting was to stimulate 'translational research', many years before this term became popular. In this way, the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium represents a forum in which basic and clinical researchers present their research side by side. Each year sees the continued evolution of our understanding of the basic mechanisms of breast cancer initiation and progression, and the clinical application of this knowledge. Major topics of discussion at the symposium this year were the cell cycle, new evolving concepts of estrogen receptor action, breast cancer stem cells, new predictive and prognostic markers (including microarray studies), and continued exploration of the mechanisms of drug resistance. This report will summarize preclinical and translational highlights from the meeting.
BRCA1; cell cycle; drug resistance; estrogen receptor; growth factor receptors; microarray; prognostic and predictive markers
The 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking report of the Commission on Health Research for Development inspired a Symposium to assess progress made in strengthening essential national health research capacity in developing countries and in global research partnerships. Significant aspects of the health gains achieved in the 20th century can be attributed to the advancement and translation of knowledge, and knowledge continues to occupy center stage amidst growing complexity that characterizes the global health field. The way forward will entail a reinvigoration of research-generated knowledge as a crucial ingredient for global cooperation and global health advances. To do this we will need to overcome daunting gaps, including the divides between domestic and global health, among the disciplines of research (biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, health systems), between clinical and public health approaches, public and private investments, and between knowledge gained and action implemented. Overcoming systematically these obstacles can accelerate progress towards research for equity in health and development.
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines organized its first Neglected Diseases and Innovation Symposium to address expanding roles of public sector research institutions in innovation in research and development of biomedical technologies for treatment of diseases, particularly neglected tropical diseases. Universities and other public research institutions are increasingly integrated into the pharmaceutical innovation system. Academic entities now routinely undertake robust high-throughput screening and medicinal chemistry research programs to identify lead compounds for small molecule drugs and novel drug targets. Furthermore, product development partnerships are emerging between academic institutions, non-profit entities, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to create diagnostics, therapies, and vaccines for diseases of the poor. With not for profit mission statements, open access publishing standards, open source platforms for data sharing and collaboration, and a shift in focus to more translational research, universities and other public research institutions are well-placed to accelerate development of medical technologies, particularly for neglected tropical diseases.
With over 20 million formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples archived each year in the United States alone, archival tissues remain a vast and under-utilized resource in the genomic study of cancer. Technologies have recently been introduced for whole-transcriptome amplification and microarray analysis of degraded mRNA fragments from FFPE samples, and studies of these platforms have only recently begun to enter the published literature.
The Emerging Technologies for Translational Bioinformatics symposium on gene expression profiling for archival tissues featured presentations of two large-scale FFPE expression profiling studies (each involving over 1,000 samples), overviews of several smaller studies, and representatives from three leading companies in the field (Illumina, Affymetrix, and NuGEN). The meeting highlighted challenges in the analysis of expression data from archival tissues and strategies being developed to overcome them. In particular, speakers reported higher rates of clinical sample failure (from 10% to 70%) than are typical for fresh-frozen tissues, as well as more frequent probe failure for individual samples. The symposium program is available at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ffpe.
Multiple solutions now exist for whole-genome expression profiling of FFPE tissues, including both microarray- and sequencing-based platforms. Several studies have reported their successful application, but substantial challenges and risks still exist. Symposium speakers presented novel methodology for analysis of FFPE expression data and suggestions for improving data recovery and quality assessment in pre-analytical stages. Research presentations emphasized the need for careful study design, including the use of pilot studies, replication, and randomization of samples among batches, as well as careful attention to data quality control. Regardless of any limitations in quantitave transcriptomics for FFPE tissues, they are often the only biospecimens available for large patient populations with long-term history and clinical follow-up. Current challenges can be expected to remain as RNA sequencing matures, and they will thus motivate ongoing research efforts into noise reduction and identification of robust, translationally relevant biological signals in expression data from FFPE tissues.