October 2010 LAM update

European LAM Conference: Udine, Italy | October 1–3, 2010

The first European hosted LAM Scientific and Patient conference took place in Udine, Italy, earlier this month.

Clinical experts, basic scientists and LAM patients from Europe, UK, USA, New Zealand and Australia gathered in Udine, a beautiful historic Italian city approximately 130 kms northeast of Venice.

The three day meeting was hosted by Italy’s patient group LAM Italia, with sponsorship and support from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Chiesi Foundation, GlaxoSmithKlein, the Commune and University of Udine and the Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The meeting began on October 1st and was opened by LAM patient and organiser Dr Iris Bassi, with the Regional Minister of Health, Sr Vladimir Kosic, welcoming scientists, doctors, and patients from twelve countries across Europe, USA, UK and Australasia.

The New Zealand LAM patient group was represented by the Director of the New Zealand LAM Trust, Bronwyn Gray and was attended by Dr James Baty, LAM investigator from Wellington’s Malaghan Institute’s Cancer cell biology group. Dr Baty is currently completing Year One of a three year LAM research project, examining the self renewal properties of LAM cells.

Bronwyn Gray speaking at the LAM Conference held in Udine, Italy (October 2010)

The Udine conference was a wonderful opportunity to meet with colleagues from global LAM research teams and to hear presentations of cutting edge LAM science from around the world, while giving patients up to date information and opportunities to speak with the researchers and with other women with LAM.

Titles of Papers and Presentations included “New Insights into the Pathogenisis of LAM”, “New Therapeutic Target Possibilities for LAM” ,”Novel Treatment Strategies, Clinical Behaviour of LAM “, “An Integrated Clinical Approach to LAM”, “Clinical and Molecular Insights into LAM”,”Lung Transplantation for LAM”, and “National and International Initiatives to Improve Collaboration on Rare Diseases”.

Presenters at the meeting included:

Professor Frank McCormackScientific Head of the LAM Foundation of America
Dr Lisa HenskeDirector of the Centre for LAM Studies at Brigham & Womens Hospital, Harvard University, Boston
Professor Vera KrymskayaUniversity of Pennsylvania, USA
Dr Amy FarberFounder & CEO of the LAM Treatment Alliance, Cambridge MA, USA
Dr Markus WeckmanUniversity of Lubeck, Germany
Dr Caroline HeckmanUniversity of Helsinki, Finland
Dr David RodmanGlobal Head of Translational Medicine, Novartis Institutes for Biological Research
Dr Cheryl WalkerM.D. Anderson Cancer Centre, Texas
Dr Joel MossNational Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Dr Simon JohnsonUniversity of Nottingham, UK
Assoc Professor Jeanine D’ArmientoColumbia University, New York
Professor Franco BonettiUniversity of Verona, Italy
Dr Sergio HarariOspedale, San Giuseppe, Milan, Italy

LAM patients or family members attended from Italy, Croatia, Spain, France, Roumania, Austria, Germany, England, USA, The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

LAM patients with NZ LAM Director Bronwyn Gray (2nd from left) attended from Italy, New Zealand, Croatia, Australia, Austria, USA, Germany, France, UK and Spain

As well as offering the highest level of scientific investigation into this rare and devastating disease, there was an over arching message of hope for the future of the women with LAM who attended the meeting and for those women suffering from LAM around the world.

It is hoped that a follow on European LAM Conference will take place in Madrid, Spain or in Poitiers France in 2012.

Prof Vera Krymskaya and Bronwyn Gray at the Italian LAM meeting; night off in old city of Citivale, Italy