ECTRIMS 2015 Congress: a Look at Young Investigator Session I

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The 31st Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) will start today, 7 October 2015 at the Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB) in Barcelona, Spain.

The first day of the Congress is heavily focused on Teaching Courses in several topics related to multiple sclerosis (MS) pathogenesis and disease management. Three Satellite Symposiums will also take place today, along with two Young Scientific Investigators’ Sessions. The research being conducted by these emerging scientists represents the next generation of insights into understanding, treating and eventually curing the disease.

In the first session of Young Scientific Investigators (14:00 – 15:30 h, GMT +1h), six young researchers will present their work. The first talk will be presented by B. Broux from the CRCHUM in Montreal, Canada, and it will focus on the finding that a molecule called interleukin-26 (IL-26), which is associated to immune T helper 17 (Th17) cells, is present at higher levels in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients and exerts a regulatory function of the blood brain barrier during neuroinflammation.

The second presentation, by D. Coric from the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands will provide new insights into the link between cognitive impairment in MS and alterations in the eye, namely atrophy of the retinal nerve fiber layer and the ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer in the retina. According to the authors, atrophy of these layers in the eye reflects brain damage linked to cognitive dysfunction in MS.

The third presentation, by M. F. Farez from the Raúl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research (FLENI) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will offer more insights into the molecular and biological mechanisms behind the link between melatonin and the seasonal fluctuation in MS relapses (usually lower during autumn and winter).

The fourth presentation, by S. Blumenfeld from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Israel, will focus on the finding that Fingolimod (Gilenya) therapy modulates the function of immune B cells, namely by upregulating anti-inflammatory molecules, potentially contributing to an added therapeutic benefit in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).

L. Kipp from the UCL Institute of Neurology in London, United Kingdom, will present the fifth talk of the session on a more specific and accurate assessment of brain tissue microstructure changes through a novel magnetic resonance imaging technique called neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI). According to the authors, the results of this technique correlate with disease disability in RRMS patients.

Finally, the 6th talk of the session will be conducted by F. de Angelis from the UCL Institute of Neurology in London, United Kingdom, and will reveal a new strategy to promote re-myelination in MS patients through an increase in axonal activity via electrical stimulation.

You can access the full ECTRIMS 2015 Congress program here.

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Patrícia holds her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. She has studied Applied Biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal. Her work has been focused on molecular genetic traits of infectious agents such as viruses and parasites.
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