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FOCIS UPDATE - April 2007

FOCIS Steering Committee

David Hafler

FOCIS Vice-Chair
Gerald T. Nepom

FOCIS Secretary/Treasurer
Jonathan Braun

Past Chair
C. Garrison Fathman

FCE Chair
Cornelia Weyand

Accreditation Chair
George Eisenbarth

Communications Chair
Lynn Gordon

Development Chair
Lanny Rosenwasser

Education Chair
P.J. Utz

International Chair
Stefan Meuer

Research Chair
Dhaval Patel

Steering Committee Members

Grant J. Anhalt

Jack P. Antel

Richard S. Blumberg

Jeffrey A. Bluestone

Mary K. Crow

Mohamed R. Daha

Barbara Detrick

Ronald Falk

Lynn K. Gordon

Gregg Hadley

Hiroshi Kiyono

Vijay Kuchroo

Peter E. Lipsky

Michael T. Lotze

Barbara Murphy

William J. Murphy

Karen Nelson

Lanny J. Rosenwasser

Daniel Rotrosen

John E. Sims

Kendall A. Smith

Kathleen Sullivan

William J. Murphy

Matthias G. Von Herrath

FOCIS Update

FOCIS Update is published four times a year by the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies. All editorial communications should be directed to:
Sarah Krause
(414) 359-1670

Letter from the President

Dear Colleagues,

As president and co-founder of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies it is with great pleasure that in June 2007 I will turn over the leadership to Gerald Nepom, Jonathan Braun, and P.J. Utz. The Federation will continue to thrive and pursue its mission of bringing different clinical specialists together with basic immunologists to investigate human inflammatory disease.

FOCIS has succeeded in filling a critical, unmet need for breaking down the barriers of clinical disciplines and fostering discussion around the understanding of inflammatory disease. I am particularly proud of the emergence of the FOCIS Network of Consortia, directed by Stephen Rich. The Network of Consortia is a concept built upon the self-organization of many different groups that investigate the genetic basis of human autoimmune diseases and the unification of these groups under one umbrella. Watching FOCIS organize the interactions of these consortia has been most satisfying.

Looking to the future, FOCIS will play a key role in organizing the establishment of databases across different inflammatory diseases where clinical response to therapies are examined in relationship to measurements of immune function. Why does one disease respond to a particular immunotherapy, why another does not? Inclusion of genetic variation to these immune responses is important. FOCIS, crossing clinical disciplines, is uniquely positioned to develop these databases.

The FOCIS Centers of Excellence (FCE) continue to develop in their goal of unifying clinical disciplines around the understanding of inflammatory disease at medical centers throughout the world. Members of the FCE network recently identified B cell education as an unmet need. Fifteen FCE network members subsequently presented B Cell Outreach Programs at their Centers of Excellence. The FCE network will continue to develop and disseminate relevant educational programs and creative approaches to trainee development like the FCE Trainee Satellite Symposium that is held at the annual meeting. Our recent pilot program with the Immune Tolerance Network to establish Clinical Trial Units provides a new model that I sincerely hope will succeed over the upcoming years. The FCE offer tremendous potential for the field of clinical immunology.

The contributions of many strong, bright and visionary leaders have enabled FOCIS to come closer to its original vision. I hope that we have succeeded in our in initial goal of uniting the member societies together around our common mission to improve human health through immunology. In particular, the vision of the Clinical Immunology Society and its president some ten years ago, Andrew Saxon, were critical to the creation of FOCIS. I want to personally thank Gail Bast, and her staff, Sarah Krause, Michelle Reed and Elise Jaeger for their organization and outstanding administration. As co-founder of FOCIS, C. Garrison Fathman, I wish to thank and acknowledge his leadership and vision. His energy and unbridled enthusiasm for the mission of FOCIS, and for that matter, life in general, continues to be an inspiration.

Lastly, on behalf of FOCIS, I applaud and personally thank you for your efforts and look forward to the future.

David A. Hafler
David A. Hafler, M.D.
President, Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies
Breakstone Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School

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FOCIS 2007

Join the community that links translational science and clinical innovation

The 2007 program will include a strong representation of early clinical and translational investigations. Matthias von Herrath, FOCIS 2007 Organizing Committee Member says, this enhances important dialogue between basic and clinical researchers, and couples with the opportunity to learn valuable lessons from across many disciplines. ”This will make for a uniquely fruitful and exciting meeting,“ says von Herrath.

Book your room

Book your room before May 1 to receive discounts!

FOCIS 2007 will be held June 7-11 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. You must register before May 1 to receive reduced advance registration rates.

Registration discounts are also available for booking your room at the FOCIS 2007 Headquarters Hotel. Visit to make a reservation at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. Use your Sheraton acknowledgement number when registering for FOCIS 2007 to qualify for the Headquarters Hotel Discount.

Register by May 1st to receive reduced registration rates.

FOCIS 2007 Major Scientific Symposia

Friday, June 8, 8:30 am to 10:00 am: Combating Infectious Disease

Elite Controllers of HIV: Implications from Studies of Natural Control for HIV Vaccines, Bruce Walker, MD

Friday, June 8, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm: Targeting B Cells

B Cells as Therapeutic Targets in Multiple Sclerosis, Amit Bar-Or, MD, FRCPC
Targeting B Cells in Autoimmune Disease: New Insights, Bill St. Clair, MD
The Synovial Tissue Response to Rituximab Treatment: How Does it Relate to Clinical Response?, Paul-Peter Tak, MD, PhD

Saturday, June 9, 8:30 am to 10:00 am: Crucial Novel Cytokine Pathways

Cytokine Targeting in Inflammatory Synovitis, Iain McInnes, PhD
Anti-TNFs in the Clinic – What are they Telling us about TNF Biology?, Andrew Nesbitt, PhD

Saturday, June 9, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm: Developing Immunotherapies

NF-kB in Immune and Inflammatory Responses, Sankar Ghosh, PhD
Tilting the Balance of Immunity Toward Tolerance, Terry Strom, MD
Advances in Immunotherapy for Allergy and Asthma, David Broide, MD, ChB

Sunday, June 10, 8:30 am to 10:00 am: Innovative Immunotherapies

The Future of Adoptive Immunotherapy for Cancer, Nick Restifo, MD
The LIGHT and DARC Sides of a TNF Receptor, Carl Ware, PhD
TWEAKing Inflammatory Disease by a Multifunctional Cytokine, Linda Burkly, PhD

Sunday, June 10, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm: Emerging Vaccine Strategies

Analysis of Immune Responses Against Influenza and Pox Viruses, Alex Sette, PhD
Exploiting Epithelial-Dendritic Cell Interactions for Induction of Mucosal Immunity, Marian Neutra, PhD
Pharmacologic Control of Toll-like Receptor 7 Activation, Dennis Carson, MD

Monday, June 11, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm: FOCIS Network of Consortia (NOC) Genome Wide Association Scans-Presentations by Independent Consortia & Technology Innovators

Presentations by John Todd, PhD, Type I Diabetes Consortium, David Glass, MD, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium, John Harley, MD, PhD, SLE Genetics Consortium, Peter Gregersen, MD, North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium, Judy Cho, MD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Consortium
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Satellite Immunology Course to be held June 6

Taught by renowned thought leaders, Abul K. Abbas, MD, University of California – San Francisco and Hidde Ploegh, PhD, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, this is an educational opportunity not to be missed!

Register Now

Attend Basic Immunology for Clinicians

Basic Immunology for Clinicians: Update 2007

Wednesday, June 6, 2007
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

This course is presented by in conjunction with the 7th Annual Meeting of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS 2007). Registration for Basic Immunology for Clinicians is separate from that of FOCIS 2007. You may register to attend the course alone, or as part of your FOCIS 2007 Registration. Continental breakfast will be served at 7:00 am, and the scientific program will begin at 8:00 am.

On site registration will be accepted, but due to limited seating it is recommended that your pre-register online or by mail.

See you in San Diego!

Questions? Please contact:
Michelle Reed at

Accreditation Statement

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS). The University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 25.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

To view the complete CME and education information, please visit

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FOCIS Network of Consortia

A Genome-wide Search

Advances in genotyping technology with reduction in cost have spurred genome-wide association (GWA) scans for identification of genes that influence the risk of autoimmune disease. Several independent research groups have recently completed GWA scans that have resulted in novel candidate genes being uncovered – genes that may provide important insights into disease pathogenesis and therapeutic targets.

As prior linkage studies have suggested that several of the autoimmune diseases have common target regions for susceptibility, the availability of GWA data at a much greater resolution could permit the recognition of specific candidate regions that affects risk of autoimmunity, rather than disease-specific effects. In an effort to uncover the genetic basis of autoimmunity, the Network of Consortia (NOC) has initiated a series of meetings to implement the sharing of data from ongoing GWA scans in autoimmune disease – inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematorsus (SLE), and type 1 diabetes (T1D). In addition, the Welcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) has recently completed a series of disease-oriented GWA scans using a common control group; the WTCCC data may also be incorporated in this effort.

The work of the initial phase of the GWA scans for autoimmunity will be presented at FOCIS 2007, during the NOC session on Monday, June 11, 2007. Stay tuned!

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FOCIS Centers of Excellence

The FOCIS Centers of Excellence (FCE) provide an opportunity to build interdisciplinary translational immunology community at individual institutions. Perhaps the most critical understanding emerging in modern medicine in the last several years of the genomic revolution has been the deep relationships among immune mechanisms in the areas of substantial unmet clinical need representing disorders associated with chronic inflammation. These include the traditional base of FOCIS, autoimmunity, transplantation immunology, viral and bacterial immunity, and biologic therapy of patients with cancer. The critical role of inflammatory processes has become apparent in atherosclerosis, obesity, and carcinogenesis in adults. Opening up these areas for further application of principles gleaned from the more traditional areas of study now represents a major integrative role of the FCEs and our trainees represent the means by which we can realize more rapid gains in understanding.

Future plans include broader participation with creation of a central FCE Committee currently including Michael Lotze, C. Garrison Fathman, Cornelia Weyand, Betty Diamond, Joaquim Madrenas, Jane Salmon and Scott Plevy, efforts to annualize FOCIS educational programs on individual cell types into our curricula. In 2007 we will work to consolidate and develop Clinical Immunologic Grand Rounds at each FCE, providing a format and means for Speaker Bureau support and trainee presentations of patients with attention to measures of inflammatory processes and application of approved and emergent therapies for these fascinating disorders. Consideration of the realities of the highly specialized subspecialities of medicine with the cross-cutting aspects of clinical and translational research in the modern era will be the first charge for the FCE Committee. Comments and suggestions from the membership and in particular from FCE directors are welcomed.

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FCE Trainees Selected to Present at FOCIS 2007

Each year two trainees from each FCE are selected by FCE Directors to participate in the Trainee Satellite Symposium (TSS) at the annual FOCIS meeting. TSS, held on the first day of FOCIS 2007, brings together trainees from 47 national and international centers and highlights the research they are conducting.

This year’s oral presentations will be sessioned into the Member Society Satellites Symposia on Thursday, June 7. Trainee presentations will be evaluated and trainees will be provided with feedback on their presentation. TSS participants will attend the satellite sessions and will present posters in the evening.

To register for FOCIS Member Society Satellites please visit

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Excellence in Education – Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology

Cell Graphic

A large part of the FOCIS Strategic Plan is dedicated to the education of clinical trainees, investigators and basic scientists. In 2006 FOCIS debuted the Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology which is a course that reaches all members of this diverse audience. The course was a hit in 2006 and ran again in March 2007.

This year’s course hosted 130 participants with a waiting list. Course delegates were given the opportunity to not only attend lectures by leaders in the field, but due to the intimate nature of the course, attendees were able to dine with speakers and approach them with questions ranging from scientific topics to career advice.

If you would like to be among the first to receive communications about the 2008 Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology please contact

To view all available FOCIS Educational Programs please visit

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Member News

Jeffrey Modell Foundation, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Launch Pilot Newborn Screening Program to Detect and Treat “Bubble Boy Disease”


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12th International Congress on Antiphospholipid Antibodies

April 18-20, 2007

5th International Conference “Sex hormones, pregnancy and rheumatic disease”

April 18-20, 2007

11th International TNF Conference (Reschedule)

May 13-16, 2007

11th International Conference on Myasthenia Gravis and Related Disorders

May 14-16, 2007
Chicago, Illinois

Basic Immunology for Clinicians: Update 2007

June 6, 2007
San Diego, California

FOCIS 2007

June 7-11, 2007
San Diego, California

8th World Congress on Inflammation

June 16-20, 2007

25th Annual Aspen Allergy Conference

Wednesday, July 25 - Saturday, July 28, 2007 with a Welcome Reception the evening of Tuesday, July 24, 2007

22nd Annual Meeting of the International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer

November 1-4, 2007

14th International Congress of Immunology

August 22-27, 2010

We want to hear from you!

Please send your upcoming news and events to Sarah Krause,

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Career Development

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FOCIS is a federation made up of disease specific societies:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology • American College of Rheumatology
American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation • American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics
American Society of Transplantation • American Uveitis Society
Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis • Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists
Clinical Immunology Society • Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America • Immunology of Diabetes Society
International Complement Society • International Cytokine Society • International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research
International Society of Neuroimmunology • International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer
Society for Investigative Dermatology • Society for Mucosal Immunology • The Transplantation Society