MSA Trust

5th International Congress on MSA

During two days in April, our MSA Nurse Specialist Jill Lyons and many other notable researchers in MSA attended the 5th International Congress on MSA. We are delighted to have two short blogs on the events to present to you at the start of the Association of Medical Research (AMRC) charity’s Peer Review Matters Week, 9-13th May 2016.

Our first blog is from MSA Nurse Specialist, Jill Lyons, who writes…
I was delighted to attend the 5th International Congress on Multiple System Atrophy in Salerno Italy on April 22nd to 23rd. The Congress was held at the Fondazione Ebris which is in fact the site of the first recorded medical school dating back to 900AD. I attended along with 120 other international delegates to hear the latest from the key researchers and clinicians with special interest in MSA from all over the world.
There was an extensive poster display featuring the current studies of researchers from all over Europe as well as from Seoul South Korea, Mayo Clinic USA, Serbia and Montenegró, Israel, Japan and Australia.
The congress comprised of 4 sections. Firstly 5 talks on the pathogenesis of MSA, then 5 sessions on MSA registries, concluding with a session I presented on the role of the MSA nurse in the UK. On the Saturday the third session was on imaging and biomarkers and the 4th session was 5 talks on therapies and future therapies. The meeting concluded with oral presentations of the abstract submissions.
The congress included a social dinner at the Castle of Alechi a wonderful setting, shame it rained, and a great opportunity for the MSA community to get to know each other better while enjoying local delicacies.
I will be writing in more detail about the congress in the next edition of MSA News.

Our second blog is from one of our researchers at the Queens Square Brain Bank (QSBB), Dr Aoife Kiely, who writes…
High above the narrow cobbled streets of the Italian city of Salerno a swarm of scientists, neurologists and neuropathologists converge, from all corners of the globe, in an outwardly nondescript building. Which in its varied past has been the site of an ancient thermal spa, a monastery and now a biomedical research institute. We are all here to share our work and find new ways to move forward in the fight to cure MSA.
At that stage I had already been in Salerno for a few days, my fiancé and I had decided to grab a few days of holiday to explore a bit of the Amalfi coast on the back of a moped (very beautiful, but slightly terrifying). We’d also managed to track down the finest gluten free pizza I’ve ever had, which any fellow coeliac will know is a rare find indeed!
I was excited to present my research at the conference, this would be the first chance for me to present our most recent work on alpha-synuclein breakdown in MSA, a project which the MSA Trust has helped to fund. In this project we are looking at the enzymes that break down the sticky protein alpha-synuclein and trying to figure out why they are not being effective in MSA brain. At a conference of this kind, in between the lectures, there is time to view poster presentations like mine. Delegates generally mill around stopping to discuss the posters with those presenting. This means I typically spend a few hours presenting my work multiple times to different groups of people, answering their questions and discussing the topic. It is a great way to informally get to speak to experts in your area of research and get their thoughts on your work. Happily everyone I spoke to was excited by the research we are doing and were very encouraging.
The other very important part of the conference, which is generally the reason that coffee breaks run long and the time table goes out of whack, is collaboration. Lots of excited scientists with big ideas get to meet each other face to face and make plans for how they can work together to make things happen. For me this means both nervously approaching eminent professors and also, chatting away to equally excitable PhD students and post-docs at their posters.
I have come away from this conference extra energised about MSA research, I’ve gotten great feedback on the work we are doing at QSBB. What is more I’m very excited at the new avenues of research we plan to tackle with the help of some new friends and collaborators and hopefully with the support of new funding!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blogs published on these pages are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the MSA Trust.

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4 years ago

Thanks for the information. My mother has probable MSA and I was wondering if it is possible to find out who the researchers were from Australia, as I would be keen to make contact with them. Sadly I believe she is in the final stages but would still be intreated to see if anything else could be done to make her more comfortable. (unfortunately our religion does not allow autopsy, but perhaps there is something they could learn from her advanced disease). Thanks again,

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