Successful international conference at the University
During a three-day conference in August, over 200 scientists from all over the world met at the 17th meeting of the European Macrophage and Dendritic Cell Society, organised by Professor Ziegler-Heitbrock, Chair of Immunology at this University.
meeting, from August 28-30, took place at the University's pleasant conference
site in Oadby.
Scientists came from Europe, India, Japan, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Iran and the US. They presented and discussed new discoveries on macrophages and dendritic cells. These cells of the immune system are found in our blood. They are also present in all of our organs including the lung. Therefore they are at the forefront of defence against microbes, which try to invade our body every day.
One of the hot topics at the conference was the toll-like receptors, which are expressed on the surface of macrophages (cells that can eat and destroy microbes). These receptors are used to sense bacteria and this is then followed by a brisk response leading to the destruction of the bacteria.
Akira from Osaka, Japan, presented exciting new data on how the toll-like
receptors lead to activation of macrophages. The discovery of these
recognition molecules has already led to new diagnostic tests and to new
therapies. Also, new discoveries on the role of macrophages in inflammatory
lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, were discussed
at the conference.
central topic was the conversion of macrophages into dendritic cells.
Dendritic cells are potent in causing activation of many other immune defence
cells and they are currently tested in new tumor therapies and in the
treatment of allergies like asthma. This includes drugs that specifically
activate dendritic cells via toll-like receptors.
there were several contributions on the CD16+ monocytes, a population of cells
discovered in the lab of Professor Ziegler-Heitbrock. It was shown by Dr
Ancuta from Boston, USA, that the CD16+ monocytes are selectively attracted
and activated by the chemokine fractalkine. In this way these cells can
migrate to specific sites of inflammation.
intensive conference programme was lightened by two social events - a
reception, at which the Lord Mayor welcomed guests, at the New Walk Museum,
and a conference dinner at Leicester's National Space Centre. All participants
stayed to the very end, which is unusual to happen at any conference! It gave
the best indication that it was a successful event.
Last updated: 7 October 2003 12:20
Created by: Barbara Whiteman
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