Conference reports

PH Conferences 2015

See “Calender of events”.

Sir John VANE Annual Symposium on Prostacyclin Science and Pulmonary Vascular Disease

The Tenth John Vane Memorial Symposium on Prostacyclin Science and Pulmonary Vascular Disease was held in London on March 6 and 7. This annual event is held in memory of Sir John Vane, who shared the Nobel Prize in medicine with Salvator Moncada in 1982 for his work on prostaglandins. Together with colleagues at Wellcome Sir John Vane also discovered prostacyclin, a vasodilator prostaglandin that helps prevent blood clots by reducing the stickiness of platelets, which was to be used in later years in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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International Rare Disease Day 2015 Policy event and “Black Pearl” Gala Dinner

International Rare Disease Day (RDD) is celebrated every year on the last day of February. This event was launched in 2008 by EURORDIS, the European Rare Disease Organization and has since gained increasing consensus, with thousands of RDD events organized in collaboration with patient associations worldwide every year.

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Scientific conferences 2014

In the course of 2014 PHA Europe representatives were present at the two largest events in the fields of cardiology and respiratory medicine. The 2014 annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology was held in Barcelona (Spain) from August 30 to September 3 and was attended by 30,000 participants from all over the world. The annual congress of the European Respiratory Society was held in Munich from September 6 to 10 and was the largest to date, with 22,000 delegates. It was very encouraging to see not only that a number of sessions at both congresses were dedicated to pulmonary arterial hypertension and to chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), featuring some of world’s leading experts as speakers or chairpersons, but also that these sessions were extremely well attended. There were additionally numerous poster presentations which covered the clinical aspects of PAH as well as quality of life and emotional (eg. depression) issues.

The main highlight of the ERS congress for the PH community was the presentation of the results of AMBITION, a large, long term clinical trial investigating the benefits of “upfront” combination therapy with Ambrisentan-Volibris, an “ERA”, and Tadalafil-Adcirca, a “PDE-5 inhibitor” which acts on the nitric oxide pathway (see section on Therapies). Previous studies had analysed only “sequential” combination therapy, where patients start with one drug and a second one is added at a later stage if treatment goals are not met. Three of these studies have proven substantial benefits sustained over time. The AMBITION study shows even more dramatic improvements, with a 50 percent reduction in risk of clinical failure in the group having received both drugs right from the start, as opposed to the ones on monotherapy. The rationale of this new approach is that the severity of the disease and its progressive nature may justify a more aggressive “hit early, hit hard” strategy. It will be interesting to see how these new findings will translate into future treatment management. Upfront combination therapy could potentially become the new standard of care for PAH.

For full report see the Winter 2014 Mariposa Journal, page 7.

In the course of 2014 PHA Europe representatives were also present at a number of other scientific conferences, workshops, roundtables and media events, see Winter 2014 Mariposa Journal, pages 4-6.

World Pulmonary Hypertension Symposium 2013

World Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension February 27 to March 1, 2013, Nice, France

The 5th World PH Symposium was the most important scientific event in the field of pulmonary hypertension in the course of 2013.

The World Symposia on Pulmonary Hypertension (WSPH) started in Geneva in 1973 and have been held every five years after its convocation in Evian, France in 1998.The symposia have traditionally reviewed progress made in pulmonary hypertension science and paved the way for further advancement in research, diagnosis and treatment. It was a great honour for PHA Europe to be asked, along with PHA and leading medical societies in Europe, to grant it’s patronage to the Fifth WSPH, which took place in Nice, France from February 27 to March 1, 2013. The presence of PHA Europe and PHA at the meeting was cordially noted from the podium and both groups were afforded an information booth at a central location of the conference venue. Indicative of the collaborative reception PHA Europe received was the inclusion of a scientific poster submitted by the organization for display at a dedicated poster session. The poster, “The Impact of PAH on the Lives of PAH Patients” was exhibited alongside major medical studies concerning the disease and outlines the results of a study on the psycho-social needs of PH patients and their carers. The study has influenced thinking and policy concerning approaches to PH treatment and integrated support.

Five delegates from PHA Europe attended the WSPH: President Gerald Fischer (Austria), Vice Presidents Pisana Ferrari (Italy) and Mélanie Gallant Dewavrin (France), Yosef Gotlieb (Israel) and Hall Skaara (Norway). They were accorded great courtesy by the organizers including participation at official dinners and other events. The symposium was attended by over 1,000 medical professionals and other specialists from all over the world. It provided an excellent opportunity for exchanges between the conferees and the patient associations delegates and enabled networking with key PH stakeholders including clinicians, researchers, and leading staff of pharmaceutical and biomed concerns. Further, the meeting provided a unique channel to become updated by the most prestigious and renowned specialists around the world about recent developments in PH research, diagnosis, treatments, case management, surgical and other interventional modalities and future strategies for screening and identification of groups at risk for the disease.

A full report of the WSPH, by Yosef Gotlieb, PhD, PHA Europe, PHA Israel, was published in the Winter 2013 edition of Mariposa Journal, pages 12-19 at: Mariposa News Winter 2013

Last updated: May 11, 2015