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FOCIS UPDATE - November 2007

FOCIS Board of Directors

  • FOCIS President

    Gerald T. Nepom
  • FOCIS Vice President

    Jonathan Braun
  • FOCIS Secretary/Treasurer

    P.J. Utz
  • Past President

    David Hafler
  • Abul Abbas
  • George Eisenbarth
  • Lynn Gordon
  • Kevan Herold
  • Andrew Lichtman
  • Michael Lotze
  • Stefan Meuer
  • Stephen Rich
  • Lanny Rosenwasser

    Compliance Officer

  • George Tsokos

Steering Committee Members

  • Grant J. Anhalt
  • Jack P. Antel
  • Richard S. Blumberg
  • Jeffrey A. Bluestone
  • Barbara Detrick
  • Manfred Dierich
  • Ronald Falk
  • Gregg Hadley
  • Hiroshi Kiyono
  • Vijay Kuchroo
  • Peter E. Lipsky
  • Michael T. Lotze
  • William J. Murphy
  • Karen Nelson
  • Robert B. Nussenblatt
  • Lanny J. Rosenwasser
  • Daniel Rotrosen
  • John E. Sims
  • Kendall A. Smith
  • E. William St. Clair
  • Kathleen E. Sullivan
  • Megan Sykes
  • 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:

Letter from the President

Dear Colleagues,

Gerald T. Nepom, MD, PhD

FOCIS 2008, the premiere conference in translational immunology, is fast approaching, and we invite you to attend and participate. The FOCIS 2008 Organizing Committee, led by Jacques Banchereau, has selected topics and speakers from a comprehensive array of disease areas that address underlying immune pathogenesis, novel therapies, and shared insights. This year’s program features topics such as Tolerance & Autoimmunity: New Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targets; Innovations in Genetic Approaches; Movers and Shakers: Cellular Migration and Immunomodulation; and Communicating Danger: Inflammatory Mediators. As our field rapidly advances in clinical trials and the introduction of new and specific immunotherapies, the opportunity to share our knowledge and speed our progress has never been greater. A complete listing of the FOCIS 2008 science and speakers are available in the Preliminary Program.

In addition to the scientific program, FOCIS 2008 also hosts FOCIS Member Societies’ Satellite Symposia and FOCIS Educational Courses. Satellite symposia provide the opportunity for in-depth coverage of more focused topics which are of particular interest to specific member societies, and serve as a prelude to the excitement of the FOCIS 2008 meeting itself. The listing of June 5 satellites can be found at

The FOCIS Education Committee, led by Andy Lichtman, and Interventional Immunology Course Director, William St. Clair, have developed a new education program that will debut also on June 5. This course on interventional immunology is designed primarily for practitioners to assist them in identifying cross-disciplinary implications of current therapies. This course in combination with the Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008 Course held June 4 offers a comprehensive education experience from bedside to bench and back again.

The FOCIS 2008 programs are a major element fueling the FOCIS mission to improve human health through immunology. We look forward to your participation and energy at FOCIS 2008 to further this goal.

See you in Boston!

Best regards,

Nepom Signature

Gerald T. Nepom, MD, PhD
FOCIS President

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Register for FOCIS 2008 NOW for Discounted Rates

FOCIS 2008There are two ways to receive discounted meeting registration rates for FOCIS 2008:

  1. Register before May 1, 2008, and automatically receive the advance registration rate.
  2. Book your hotel room at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, the FOCIS 2008 headquarters hotel, before April 14 and prior to registering for FOCIS 2008. Enter your Marriott confirmation number when registering for the meeting to receive the headquarters hotel meeting registration discount on your meeting registration.
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FOCIS 2008 Member Society Satellite Symposia: Thursday, June 5, 2008

To attend FOCIS 2008 Satellite Symposia, delegates MUST indicate this option on the FOCIS 2008 registration form and pay an additional fee, ranging from $45 for a half day ticket to $75 for a full day ticket. To learn more about Satellite Symposia, visit

Full Day (8:30 am-5:30 pm) Member Society Satellite Symposia include:

  • Clinical Immunology Society (CIS) presenting "Immunoassessment"
  • Clinical Immunology Society (CIS), Section of Clinical Immunology & Allergy of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM), European Society of Immunodeficiency (ESID), National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Office of Rare Disease presenting "Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases Consortium Conference"
  • Society for Mucosal Immunology (SMI), American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) presenting "Antigen Recognition at Mucosal Surfaces: Implications for Allergic, Inflammatory & Immunologic Diseases"
  • International Society for Neuroimmunology (ISNI) and Immunology of Diabetes Society (IDS) presenting "Dendritic Cells and B Cells in MS and Type 1 Diabetes: From Basic Research to Clinical Trials"

Half Day Morning Only (8:30 am-5:30 pm) Member Society Satellite Symposia include:

  • American Uveitis Society (AUS)
  • American Society for Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics (ASHI), The Transplantation Society(TTS) and the American Society of Transplantation (AST) presenting "Immune Monitoring in Transplantation−From Benchside to Bedside"

Half Day Afternoon Only (12:30 pm-5:30 pm) Member Society Satellite Symposia include:

  • Clinical Immunology Society (CIS) presenting "Improving Vaccination for Chronic Viral Infections-A Case for Emerging Immune Modulatory Therapies"
  • International Cytokine Society (ICS) presenting "Emerging Cytokine-Based Therapeutics"
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Making a Splash at FOCIS 2008 – Science & Speakers

FOCIS 2008 promises an exception line up of speakers and topics. A diverse range of experienced speakers will present the latest advances in new research, practice and therapies. Please see a sample of the science and speakers below. The full listing of speakers and topics is available in the Preliminary Program.

Download Preliminary Program

Keynote Symposia:

  • Dendritic Cells and Vaccine Biology - Ralph M. Steinman, MD, Rockefeller University
  • The Contrasting Roles of IL-15 and IL-2 in the Life and Death of Lymphocytes: Implications for Cancer Therapy and Vaccine Design - Thomas Waldman, MD, NIH/NCI/METB
  • Interleukin-1 beta, the Caspase-1 Inflammasome and Treating Autoinflammatory Disease - Charles Dinarello, MD, University of Colorado

Plenary Sessions:

  • Molecular Defects in Severe Combined Immunodeficiency and Lessons Learned Following Immune Reconstitution - Rebecca Buckley, MD, Duke University Medical Center
  • The Contribution of the Immune System to the Efficacy of Chemotherapy in Cancer - Laurence Zitvogel, MD, PhD, Institut Gustave Roussy
  • Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer Therapy - James P. Allison, PhD, HHMI/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Targeting Cancer with T Cells - Size is Not All That Matters - Philip Greenberg, MD, University of Washington
  • Triggering and Controlling Innate Antiviral Immune Defenses Against Pathogenic RNA Viruses - Michael Gale, PhD, University of Washington

Thematic Symposia:

  • Pulmonary CXCR2 Regulates VCAM-l Dependent, Antigen-Induced Recruitment of Mast Cell Progenitors to Lung - Frank Austen, MD, Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • Balancing Immunity and Inflammation in the Gut - David Artis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
  • Role of Dendritic Cells in Transplant Immunity - Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, Mount Sinai
  • Therapeutic Applications of Tregs - Jeffrey A. Bluestone, PhD, University of California San Francisco
  • Regulatory T Cell Immunotherapy for Tolerance to Self Antigens and Alloantigens in Humans - Maria Grazia-Roncarolo, MD, PhD, San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy
  • TSLP, OX40L, and IL-25 - the Axis of Allergy - Young-Jun Liu, MD, PhD, Center for Cancer Immunology Research
  • Human Hemato-Lymphoid System Mice: Predictive Preclinical Testing Models for Immunology? - Markus Manz, MD, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
  • A Novel Vitamin D Analog has a Profound Effect in Generating Potent Immunomodulatory Dendritic Cells - Frank Nestle, MD, Kings College London
  • HIV Disease Progression: Immune Activation, Microbes and a Leaky Gut - Daniel C. Douek, MD, PhD, NIH
  • Lessons from Poxviruses: The Road from Viral Tropism to Oncolytic Therapy - Grant McFadden, PhD, University of Florida College of Medicine
  • Live Attenuated Influenza Virus Vaccines Based on Modifications of the Viral IFN Antagonistic Gene NS1 - Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, PhD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Collaborative Association Study of Psoriasis - James T. Elder, MD, PhD, University of Michigan
  • The Shared Genetic Landscape of Autoimmune Disease - Chris Cotsapas, PhD, The Broad Institute
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Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008

As new immunotherapeutic strategies are being developed and adopted, it is becoming important to understand the rationale behind these therapies, and this also requires an appreciation of the fundamentals of immunology.

Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008
Wednesday, June 4 at FOCIS 2008
Boston Marriott Copley Place
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Register Now
2 Courses For $225

Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008 provides a sophisticated review of selected basic principles, and an update on new advances, especially those that are most relevant to human disease. Staying abreast of these advances is essential for practitioners of medicine and for researchers in academia and industry.

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At the Forefront of Medicine – Interventional Immunology

FOCIS is proud to announce the launch of Interventional Immunology. This one-day course recognizes the need for and provides education on the many new therapies that are currently available or in development which are based on targets unfamiliar to many practicing physicians.

Interventional Immunology
Thursday, June 5 at FOCIS 2008
Boston Marriott Copley Place
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Register Now

The goal is to help understand the rationale and mechanism underlying the major pharmacologic approaches for interventional immunology in current practice and review the track record of the different therapeutic approaches in different specialties.

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Crucial Consortia Combine

The Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS) connects multiple disease specific, genetic consortia under the FOCIS Network of Consortia in an effort to uncover the genetic basis of autoimmunity. The Network recently completed genome wide association scans revealing novel candidate genes that may provide important insights into disease pathogenesis and therapeutic targets.

The results were presented for the first time on June 11, 2007 at the Federation’s Annual Meeting (FOCIS 2007) in San Diego. The NOC unites again on June 9 at FOCIS 2008 in Boston to present reports from additional consortia who have completed their scans and have new data to share.

View the Agenda and Register Now!
FOCIS 2008 – June 5-9, 2008
Network of Consortia Presentations – June 9
Boston Marriott Copley Place – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

“Scientists that once worked in disease-specific silos are uniting to create a catalogue of common genetic variations that will enable scientists to unravel underlying causes of autoimmune diseases. New data across diseases is showing great commonality, identifying potential targets that work across autoimmune diseases.”
-Stephen Rich, PhD, University of Virginia Network of Consortia Chair

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Key FOCIS 2008 Dates & Deadlines

March 15 - ALL abstract authors must have completed a disclosure form or the abstract will be withdrawn
April 14 - Headquarters hotel meeting registration discount deadline
May 1 - Advance meeting registration deadline
June 5-9 - FOCIS 2008 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place

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Picking up Steam - Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology

The Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology presented to a sold-out crowd for the third year in a row at the end of February in Scottsdale, Arizona. This course, which has had a waiting list of over 45 people each year since its inception covers topics such as Leukocyte Migration, Cytokines and T Cell Subsets, and New and Emerging Immune Therapies.

Special thanks to FOCIS industry partners:

  • Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Centocor
  • Genentech
  • Gilead

Mark your calendars for February 18-22, 2009!

Click here to view more photos from the course

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Member Society Spotlight – International Cytokine Society

The growing enthusiasm emanating from meetings heralding the discoveries of cytokines and growth factors during the 1980s laid the foundation for the formation of the International Cytokine Society, officially established in 1993 under the auspicious of Dr. Sherwood Reichard, current Executive Director ( Joost J. Oppenheim was elected the first President of the ICS. Carl Ware is current President of the ICS.

With well over several hundred distinct cytokines, receptors and signaling components an urgent need has emerged to integrate basic and clinical knowledge. The main goal of the ICS is to facilitate the integration of knowledge among scientists and clinicians, and provide a stimulating forum for students, fellows and new investigators to learn, network and establish their careers.

Members of the ICS have contributed extensively to the development of drugs targeting cytokines that have proven highly successful in the clinic. For instance, the research of Jan Vilcek and Marc Feldmann, both past presidents of ICS, was instrumental in developing and advancing antibody-based TNF inhibitors, now widely used in treating several autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis.

Drs. John Sims and Carl Ware will host the ICS sponsored satellite session at FOCIS, "Emerging Cytokine-Based Therapeutics", 1:30 to 5:30pm on Thursday, June 5. The goal of the session is to highlight new therapeutics that modulate the activity of cytokines and are in clinical trials with demonstrated promise, but not talked about extensively at other meetings. A significant discussion of the underlying biology and pathophysiological hypothesis which led to the trial(s) will be presented. The agenda for the session includes new therapies directed at TNF superfamily in cancer and autoimmune diseases, IL-1 inhibition in type II diabetes, chemokine inhibition in atherosclerosis, and IL2 blockade in multiple sclerosis. Register for the ICS Satellite at

The Annual Meeting of the ICS, now in its 14th year, provides a consistent forum for communication and interaction between scientists aimed at the multidisciplinary integration of basic and clinical knowledge of cytokines. The ICS Annual meeting is held jointly with the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research. The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montréal will host “Cytokines 2008”, October 12-16, 2008. Dr. John Hiscott will chair the meeting. Generous travel awards are available for young scientists to attend the annual meeting.

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FOCIS Centers of Excellence

Save the Date! – FOCIS 2008 FCE Directors Meeting

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Dinner to follow
Boston Marriott Copley Place
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Trainee Satellite Symposium

Please note, the FCE Trainee Satellite Symposium follows the FCE Directors meeting on Thursday, June 5. All FCE Directors are encouraged to attend to support and interact with trainees from the 50 FCEs across the globe.

Year End Reports

Please be reminded to complete and submit FCE Year End Reports by March 31, 2008.

FCE Spotlight – University of Alabama at Birmingham

Center Director: Robert Kimberly

FOCIS: What is the coolest way that you facilitate interdisciplinary research?

Kimberly: Building on the example of the B Cell Outreach Program, the UAB FCE has developed a campus-wide program focusing on “Opportunities in Human Immunology.” Meeting every 8-10 weeks, each thematically coordinated session in the Opportunities series brings together on-campus investigators to give a brief précis of their work. After a research seminar by a distinguished visiting scientist, the presentations are designed to identify and highlight newly appreciated research opportunities in human immunology. The visiting scientist serves as co-moderator and commentator as they bring additional perspectives from their own host institution. Themes for the Opportunities series have included B cells (the inaugural topic), T cells, innate immunity, and immunogenetics.

FOCIS: Why do you dig immunology?

Kimberly: Immunology is particularly well suited to a campus-wide program because it integrates classical studies of adaptive immunity with inflammation, vascular biology, genetics and host defense. Immunology touches every organ system and is an ideal springboard for integrative, translational research.

FOCIS: What’s your vision for the future of immunology?

Kimberly: The importance of immunology, both fundamental and clinical, will continue to grow as the impact of immunologic and inflammatory mechanisms in organismal biology increases. Immunology presents enormous opportunities in complex genetics and systems biology.

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Career Development
Post your career opportunities on the FOCIS website

Job posting rates:

  • $75 per posting – academic/non-profit/government
  • $125 per posting – industry

Job postings should be 250 words or less and will remain on the website for 90 days. To post your opportunities please contact Sarah Krause.

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FOCIS is a federation of societies that unite under the common mission to improve human health through immunology.

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 Nephrology • American Society of Transplantation • American Uveitis Society
Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis • Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists
Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy • Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research
Clinical Immunology Chapter of the Sociedad Mexicana de Immunología • Clinical Immunology Society
Commonwealth of Independent States Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology
Croatian Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology • Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America
German Society of Immunology • Immunology of Diabetes Society • International Complement Society
International Cytokine Society International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research
International Society for NeuroImmunoModulation •International Society of Neuroimmunology
International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer •Israel Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Italian Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology Lithuanian Society of Pulmonology and Allergy
Pan American Group for Immunodefiency •Section of Clinical Immunology and Allergy of the Royal Society of Medicine
Section for Clinical Immunology of the Swedish Society of Medicine • Society for Investigative Dermatology
Society for Mucosal Immunology • The Transplantation Society • Ukrainian Society of Immunology and Allergy
Uveitis Association of Mexico • World Allergy Organization