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The Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS) exists to improve human health through immunology by fostering interdisciplinary approaches to both understand and treat immune-based diseases. Initially established as a cross-disciplinary meeting, FOCIS held its first Annual Meeting in 2011 and we look forward to seeing you at our 17th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois!
2016 Lupus Insight Prize Presented to Dr. Ann Marshak-Rothstein
Award funds promising research to improve treatment of skin disease in lupus
BOSTON, MA (June 23, 2016) – The 2016 Lupus Insight Prize was awarded today to Ann Marshak-Rothstein, PhD, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and Professor of Medicine/Rheumatology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, for a project with great promise to improve the treatment of lupus-related skin disease. The award was announced at FOCIS 2016, the 16th Annual Meeting of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS).
The Lupus Insight Prize is a collaborative initiative among the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR), the Lupus Foundation of America and the Lupus Research Institute (LRI). The $200,000 Prize recognizes a major, novel insight and/or discovery that has the promise to change scientific thinking about lupus as well as a high likelihood of generating further advances in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
“The collegial effort among the organizations involved in the Lupus Insight Prize demonstrates the focus of all involved in accelerating progress towards better treatments and ultimately, to finding a cure for lupus, “said Kenneth M. Farber, President of the Alliance for Lupus Research. “By working with these organizations and with leaders in the field of lupus research towards a common goal, we have the potential to more quickly improve the lives of those living with lupus.”
Unprecedented Project Aims to Improve Treatment of Cutaneous Lupus
Dr. Marshak-Rothstein has recently generated a mouse model with symptoms that mimic the lupus-related skin disease called cutaneous lupus. With the Lupus Insight Prize, she will be able to study the disease as never before, investigating the role of two specific Toll-like receptors, TLR9 and TLR7, on different types of cells.
Approximately two-thirds of people with lupus will develop some form of cutaneous lupus. It can cause rashes, hair loss and disfiguring sores (lesions), particularly on areas exposed to the sun such as the face, ears, neck, arms, and legs. These symptoms can greatly impact self-esteem and quality of life of people with lupus.
“We congratulate Dr. Marshak-Rothstein on being awarded this year’s Lupus Insight Prize,” says Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America. “There is an urgent need to better understand the causes and progression of cutaneous lupus, as well as improved outcomes for people undergoing treatment. Dr. Marshak-Rothstein’s work provides a strong foundation from which further advances in understanding and treatment can be made.”
“Over her 30-year career, Dr. Marshak-Rothstein has made deep and substantial contributions to advance lupus research, providing critical insight into the science underlying autoimmunity,” noted Margaret G. Dowd, Lupus Research Institute President and CEO. “Specifically she pioneered novel research into proteins known as Toll-like receptors that typically allow the immune system to identify intruders like bacteria and viruses. Her cutting-edge work discovered that Toll-like receptors also recognize nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA from mammals, including humans - an important insight that furthers our understanding of how autoimmunity develops.”
“I am pleased to accept this year’s Lupus Insight Prize which enables my team to continue research aimed at understanding the role of specific innate immune receptors in the regulation of lupus pathogenesis and advancing more effective and less debilitating treatments for both cutaneous lupus and related rheumatologic diseases,” commented Ann Marshak-Rothstein, PhD, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and Professor of Medicine/Rheumatology, University of Massachusetts Medical School. “Looking at the disease symptoms in animal models, we will explore the role of the sun’s UV radiation, why the skin is attacked by the body’s immune system and evaluate potential new therapies.”
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and tissue damage to any organ system in the body. The health effects of lupus include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, organ failure and possible death. An estimated 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus.
For more information visit LupusInsightPrize.org.
For More Information about the Funding Organizations:
FOCIS exists to improve human health through immunology by fostering interdisciplinary approaches to understand and treat immune-based diseases.
Source: ALR, LFA, LRI
Thank you to everyone who participated in FOCIS 2016!
Over 800 attendees, 365 abstracts, 53 speakers, from 27 countries created an exceptional atmosphere for THE meeting for translational immunology.
Special thanks goes out to the FOCIS 2016 Scientific Program Committee for their time and talent in putting together a stellar lineup of topics and speakers.
On June 1, Mike Mathy began as Interim Executive Director. Mike is an award-winning and experienced association management professional who is steeped in the FOCIS culture, as he previously served as Associate Executive Director. He has a thorough understanding of revenue generation, strategic communications and collaborative project management and has served at the helm of several educational-based non-profit organizations.
Beth Klipping joined the FOCIS team as Associate Executive Director on May 31st. Beth has an MBA with a focus in data analytics and is also well-steeped in association management – including medical/scientific associations. She has served as an executive director for several associations and has developed new programs, led strategic planning initiatives and created and executed evidence-based research dissemination initiatives.
In early June, Sarah Martis stepped down from her position as Executive Director of FOCIS and is moving to a Milwaukee trade association. Sarah was with FOCIS for over twelve years and was a significant part of FOCIS’ evolution as a key player in the scientific medical community and into a full-fledged and robust organization with a portfolio of programs, publications and networks.
|Have a Lethal Virus? There's a Cow for That|
The ability to treat rapidly emerging infectious diseases with pathogen specific antibodies is hampered by the difficulty in producing large amounts of antibodies in a timely fashion. Isolation of antibodies from convalescent serum in humans requires a large motivated pool of human donors. Monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies in animals have the potential for severe reactions arising from human immune responses against animal derived antibodies. Monoclonal humanized antibodies take a long time to develop and can result in the rapid development of escape mutants, something not observed with polyclonal antibodies. The authors describe a new approach to rapidly generating polyclonal human anti-pathogen antibodies using transgenic cows.
|The Role of Bacteria and Bacterial-derived Metabolites in Intestinal Immune Homeostasis|
The human intestine is home to trillions of highly diverse commensal bacteria, which exist in a symbiotic and mutualistic relationship with their host. Many key aspects of human health, including tolerance to the constituents of the microbiota itself, vitamin and nutrient absorption and the development of cells within the intestinal mucosa, are dependent on the presence of these beneficial microbes1. In addition, the microbiota also plays a vital role in protecting the host from invading pathogenic bacteria, via competition for substrate and niche, as well as through the production of antimicrobial compounds. Understanding how specific bacteria influence intestinal immunity is key for understanding the physiology of intestinal homeostasis, and also has the potential to define new treatments for intestinal diseases.
|Efficacy and Safety of Dupilumab in Adults with Moderate-to-severe Atopic Dermatitis Inadequately Controlled by Topical Treatments: A Randomised, Placebo-Controlled, Dose-Ranging Phase 2B Trial|
Clinical Trial: Thaci D, Simpson E, Beck L, et al. Lancet 2016; 387:40-52
Disease: Atopic dermatitis
Intervention: Dupilumab or placebo. Dupilumab is a human monoclonal antibody directed against the interleukin (IL)-4 receptor alpha subunit that blocks signaling of both IL-4 and IL-13, Th2 cytokines.
Thank you to the 2013 FOCIS Corporate Council: