Day 1 :
Fienberg School of Medicine- Northwestern University, USA
Keynote: The role of therapeutic stress induced cellular plasticity in promoting therapeutic resistance in glioblastoma
Time : 10:00 am-11:00 am
Atique Ahmed is currently working as the Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology and Member of the Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University, USA. He has completed his PhD in Molecular Medicine from Mayo Graduate School, USA. He has over 66 publications that have been cited over 3400 times, and his publication H-index is 34 and has been the recipient of American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant as well as his research is funded by the National Institute of Health, USA.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and one of the most lethal brain tumors in adults. Previously, we have shown that anti-glioma chemotherapy Temozolomide (TMZ) initiates plasticity in glioma cells by promoting the conversion of differentiated glioma cells to therapy resistant Glioma Stem-Like Cells (GS-lCs). Our initial investigation indicated that the Polycomb Repressor Complex 2 (PRC2) group protein EZH2 is critical for this therapy-induced cellular plasticity. Genome-wide Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) in parallel with DNA sequencing analyses (ChIP-seq) revealed 1449 distinct regions enriched for EZH2 binding, specifically at the promoter regions of several genes including PTPRT, CDK5R2, and SIGLEC6, which work together to activate STAT3, a master transcription factor that is key in promoting the GS-IC niche. Recent reports have also demonstrated that the oncogenic activity of EZH2 is independent of PRC2. Consequently, we investigated if the non-canonical function of EZH2 is involved in chemo resistance in GBM by performing RNA seq analysis in GBM cells treated with TMZ (+/-EZH2) inhibitor. ARL13B, a member of the ADP-ribosylation factor-like protein family responsible for cilia maintenance, was the only gene whose expression was significantly down regulated in the presence of EZH2 inhibitors (6-fold, p<0.05, FDR=0.05). In the GBM patient database, ARL13B expression negatively correlates with time to recurrence. The shRNA-mediated knockdown of ARL13B in the Patient-derived Xenograft (PDX) model of GBM significantly impaired the ability of cells to form an orthotropic tumor in three different GBM subtypes. Most importantly, knocking down ARL13B significantly sensitized PDXs to TMZ therapy. These results suggest that a novel EZH2-ARL13B axis contributes to chemo resistance in GBM by promoting cellular plasticity regulated therapeutic adaptation.
Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
Time : 11:00 am-11:450 am
Background & Aim: Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness causing significant socio-occupational impairment. Although occupational opportunities usually correspond with educational qualifications, research shows that several factors influence employment among mentally ill. Higher education correlates with better outcome with rehabilitative measures like cognitive training. An observational study was conducted at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), the tertiary mental healthcare and rehabilitation center at Singapore, to identify major variables associated with employment among patients with schizophrenia. In Singapore, all residents receive at least primary level education. The study aims to explore whether educational status determines employability and job sustainability in persons with schizophrenia.
Method: Residents of Singapore with DSM-IV diagnosis of Schizophrenia attending IMH clinics were included for study. Relevant data was collected from 120 consenting participants.
Result: Of the 120 participants, 49.2% had attained secondary education and 18.3% employed; 31.7% had university education and 15% were employed. In total, 38.3% were working at time of study and 60.8% in the past. 87.5% (43% secondary and 30% university educated, respectively) participants had rehabilitation potential as expressed by self-interest and past employment.
Conclusion: Educational level only facilitates initial job-seeking and does not ensure long-term employment; but it improves potential for rehabilitation, which in turn enhances job sustainability in mentally unwell persons.
Symbiant Pathology Expert Centre, Netherland
Keynote: Air toxic syndrome, myth or reality
Time : 12:00 pm-13:00 pm
Frank van de Goot is a registered Anatomical Pathologist and an expert witness in the field of forensic pathology. He studied Medicine and Anatomical Pathology at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Rechtsmedizin at the Zentrum für Rechtsmedizin in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The first seven years of his career he worked both as a Forensic Pathologist at the Dutch Forensic Institute (NFI) in The Hague, The Netherlands and as an Anatomical Pathologist at the VU University Medical Center. He now works at Symbiant Pathology Expert Centre, where he is on a mission to improve forensic and autopsy education for both medical and non-medical students.
Aero toxic syndrome or also toxic air syndrome is subject of debate since decades. The use of organophosphates in engine oil of modern airplanes is considered, even in very low concentrations can be toxic for the nerve system. Many auteurs claim this toxicity however many others deny the thesis. We investigated nine people employed in the aviation industry who died unexpectedly. According to these findings we cannot confirm or reject the thesis but our findings certainly support the call for methodical multidisciplinary research on the matter to prove that (parts of) the thesis a correct or to reject the statement a lay the matter finally to rest.
University Health Network Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Canada
Time : 11:30 am-12:00 pm
Catherine Maurice completed her residency training in Neurology at the University of Montreal in 2013. She then started a 2-year fellowship in neuro-oncology at the Pencer Brain Tumor Centre of Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, under the supervision of Dr Warren P. Mason. In 2015, University of Toronto Health Network recruited Dr. Catherine Maurice to work as an attending physician and clinical teacher. She developed a new neuro-oncology clinic focusing on the to assessment of neurologic complications resulting from systemic cancers and novel therapies. She also manages another clinic focused on primary brain tumors and is enrolled in the multidisciplinary Gamma-Knife Clinic of the Krembil Neuroscience Centre. Dr. Maurice is actively involved in teaching, trying to incorporate new technologies and virtual reality into medical education.
We entered in a new era of cancer treatment characterized by the arrival of novel therapies. Immunotherapy has revolutionized the management of various solid tumors and hematological malignancies. On the other hand, the emergence of unpredicted multi-systemic side effects resulting from those agents became challenging for clinicians. Neurological toxicity, while rare, could be life threatening and even lethal. In addition, neurological toxicity is certainly under-diagnosed, considering the paucity of current supporting literature. Novel therapies are linked to unprecedented clinical pictures; physicians need to be vigilant. The next step, establishing a plan in the absence of algorithm, relies on judgment and insight. This presentation aims to raise awareness about the emergence of uncommon neurological events, in the new era of immunotherapy. Short cases scenarios will be presented supported by radiology images and pathology pictures. “Quiz” questions will be prepared to interact with the audience. The goal is to trigger interest about the field of Neuro-Oncology. The presentation will be adapted for guests of every level of training (students, PhD, physicians, specialists).