#ACTRIMS2021 – Forum to Focus on Several MS-related Spectrums

#ACTRIMS2021 – Forum to Focus on Several MS-related Spectrums
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The upcoming Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) 2021 Forum will focus on the spectrums of multiple sclerosis (MS), related inflammation, disease severity, and the latest findings in the field.

According to an ACTRIMS press release, about 1,000 researchers and clinicians are expected to attend the 6th annual ACTRIMS forum, themed “The Spectrum of Multiple Sclerosis,” to be held virtually Feb. 25–27.

The forum stands out from many medical meetings by offering scientific and clinical presentations in an interactive environment, while showcasing about 200 e-posters.

Some of the highlights of this year’s forum include the Kenneth P. Johnson Memorial Lecture and the presentation of the National MS Society’s annual Barancik Prize, both set for the first day.

The Memorial Lecture — meant to provide an opportunity for people to hear from prestigious clinicians or researchers who are chosen based on their knowledge, achievements, and contributions in the MS field — will be delivered by Benjamin M. Segal, MD.

Segal is the chair of the department of neurology, the director of the Neurological Research Institute, and the co-director of the Neurological Institute at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

The Barancik Prize recognizes a scientist or team of researchers that have conducted exceptional and innovative scientific research in the field of MS. The $100,000 award is intended to encourage research with the potential to lead to the identification of new tools for the treatment and cure of the disease.

The first session of the forum, delivered by young investigators, will be dedicated to cutting-edge research that has provided new understanding on the underlying mechanisms, risk factors, and biomarkers of MS.

In addition, four sessions throughout the forum will explore several MS-related spectrums:

  • The spectrum of MS across the lifespan — from young to old age. Data on how menopause and aging affect MS and its recovery also will be presented.
  • The spectrum of MS in the Hispanic and Latino populations in the Caribbean, Central, and South America. The session, by the Latin American Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (LACTRIMS), also will share new findings on the impact of obesity and the gut microbiota on MS in these populations. (Gut microbiota comprises the vast community of friendly microbes that colonize the gastrointestinal tract; it helps to maintain a balanced gut function, while influencing the host’s immune system and inflammatory responses.)
  • The spectrum of inflammation in MS and the impact of environmental factors on such inflammation, including weight, and the intake of vitamin D and methionine (one of the building blocks of proteins that is found in food).
  • The spectrum of disease severity — from benign to aggressive MS. A disease course characterized by a slow progression of MS symptoms is typically classified as benign, while rapid disease worsening over the first years of the disease, despite treatment, is considered aggressive MS.

A session titled “Cutting Edge Developments” will focus on groundbreaking research and on the effects of MS and disease-modifying therapies on COVID-19 development and recovery, as well as on response to vaccines.

There also will be a session dedicated to the spectrum of non-MS inflammatory and autoimmune disorders that affect the central nervous system.

The full program for ACTRIMS Forum 2021 is available here.

Marta Figueiredo holds a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Lisbon, where she focused her research on the role of several signalling pathways in thymus and parathyroid glands embryonic development.
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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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Marta Figueiredo holds a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Lisbon, where she focused her research on the role of several signalling pathways in thymus and parathyroid glands embryonic development.
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