University to Host International Conference on Immune System
Two hundred scientists from all over the world will meet at a three-day conference at the University of Leicester to discuss some of the most recent discoveries about our immune system.
The occasion is the 17th conference of the European Macrophage and Dendritic Cell Society, and the conference is organised by Professor Loems Ziegler-Heitbrock, Chair of Immunology at the University of Leicester and Honorary Consultant at the Department of Immunology, Leicester Royal Infirmary.
The Conference of the European Macrophage and Dendritic Cell Society will take place from 28-30 August 2003 at the University conference site in Oadby in a pleasant environment next to 16 acres of landscaped gardens.
Professor Ziegler-Heitbrock said: “Scientists come from all of Europe, India, Japan, Korea, Australia and the US to present and discuss new theories and research findings on macrophages and dendritic cells. These cells of the immune system are found in our blood and are in all of our organs including the lungs. Therefore they are at the forefront of defence against microbes, which try to invade our body every day.
“Recent studies have shown that macrophages (cells that can eat and destroy microbes) have special recognition molecules on their surface. These molecules are used to sense bacteria and this is then followed by a brisk response leading to the destruction of the bacteria. The discovery of these recognition molecules has already led to new diagnostic tests and to new therapies.
“Also, scientists have recently shown that these macrophages can become dendritic cells. These cells have many dendrites (branches) like the Rhododendron you may have in your garden. Dendritic cells are potent in causing activation of many other immune defence cells. They are currently tested in new tumour therapies and in the treatment of allergies.
“Meetings such as this year's meeting here in Leicester will stimulate scientists to follow new ideas and to develop new strategies for diagnosis and therapy for diseases like tumors, infection and allergies.”
Professor Ziegler-Heitbrock joined The University of Leicester two years ago from Munich in Germany. He is an internationally-renowned scientist, who has discovered a new type of macrophage in our blood and pioneered studies into the way macrophage defence is switched on and - importantly - how it is switched off again. It is due to his international standing that this renowned conference is being held in Leicester.
Scientists will attend a reception at the New Walk Museum, where they will be welcomed by the Lord Mayor of Leicester and a conference dinner at the National Space Centre.
Professor Ziegler-Heitbrock concluded: “Many scientists will stay around for an extra day to discover Leicester. So watch out on Saturday 30 August, the person next to you may be a scientist that knows all about your macrophages!”
NOTE TO EDITORS: Further information is available from Professor Ziegler-Heitbrock, Chair of Immunology at the University of Leicester and Honorary Consultant at the Department of Immunology, email email@example.com
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