1st European Symposium on Myeloid Regulatory Cells in Health and Disease


Cancer therapy and the treatment of immunological diseases – international exchange on myeloid cells advances research

The 1st European Symposium on Myeloid Regulatory Cells (MRC) in Health and Disease was held at the University Hospital in Essen, Germany from 1-3 November 2018. The symposium was hosted by the COST Action BM1404 Mye-EUNITER. The Mye-EUNITER network was formed in 2014 to bring together myeloid cell researchers from cell type-specific and disease-specific communities.

Around 170 participants, including researchers of the MRC research community, molecular biologists, immunologists, translational and clinical scientists from 23 different countries came together to share the most recent developments in their field in excellent presentations and lively discussions.

The clear focus of the conference was met with high resonance amongst the participants as, for the first time in Europe, the emphasis was placed on myeloid regulatory cells (MRC). These cells are a special cell type of the human immune system offering a high potential for immunotherapy and cancer treatment.

A healthy immune system is in equilibrium and protects the host from pathogens and malignant cells. In diseases like infections, inflammation and cancer this balance is disrupted. MRCs are a sub-group of white blood cells which can contribute to this imbalance. Scientific research is investigating these pathogenic functions and accordingly trying to discover therapeutic methods for strengthening the immune system.

With the aim of sharing recent results in international research and improving scientific progress in this area of expertise, the symposium was initiated with Prof. Dr. Sven Brandau as the head of the scientific committee. Sven Brandau is, aside from being the head of the Experimental and Translational Research Division at the University Hospital Essen, also the scientific chair of the European network COST Action BM140 Mye-EUNITER. The members of this network are striving to establish common protocols for MRC immune cells for use in pan-European studies.

The symposium’s programme was manifold, including insightful talks, interesting poster presentations, and a delightfully animated round table discussion about the precise role of myeloid regulatory cells in diseases. Numerous scientists of renown actively participated, with some keynote highlights such as Dmitry Gabrilovich, Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg, both USA, and Paul Kubes from Canada as well as Mihai Netea from The Netherlands.

The scientific jury awarded the four best posters of the poster session with a poster prize, and each prize-winner gave a short oral presentation. These were Pieter Louwe (Edinburgh/United Kingdom), Sara Costa (Verona/Italy), Oana-Diana Persa (Cologne/Germany) and Utku Horzum (Ankara/Turkey).

The symposium was financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Kulturstiftung Essen. Co-host was COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Association which is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union.

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