We are here live at the Fourth BHD Symposium, at the University of Cincinnati. The University of Cincinnati has not only been called one of the world’s most beautiful campuses (by Forbes magazine), but also has an illustrious history in medical research, including the development of the first antihistamine and the first oral polio vaccine.
The Symposium began on Wednesday evening, when attendees met for a reception in the Kingsgate Conference Centre. The reception gave everyone the chance to meet and catch up before the scientific and family sessions kicked off on Thursday.
After an introduction by the chair of the scientific organising committee, Professor Maria Czyzyk-Krzeska, the Thursday morning session began with an overview of the treatment and management of BHD kidney cancer, given by Dr W. Marston Linehan of the National Cancer Institute at the NIH. The rest of the morning focused on clinical talks given by presenters from around the world. Dr Koga from the Chiba University School of Medicine in Japan spoke about pulmonary cysts in 14 BHD families, and Dr Fred Menko of the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam spoke about familial multiple discoid fibromas (FMDF), a novel syndrome with similar skin symptoms to BHD.
The morning session also included an interesting and dynamic panel discussion, led by researchers representing different health systems and approaches. Topics such as the age at which to begin kidney screening and the management of lung symptoms were discussed.
After the panel discussion, the scientific sessions focused on more basic science, with invited talks from Professor George Thomas of the University of Cincinnati and Professor Arnim Pause of McGill University, Montreal. The families attended a separate session, led by Lindsay Middleton, a genetic counsellor at the NIH.
All attendees came together at the end of the day for the poster session, followed by a dinner at the Verdin Bell Event Centre. The Centre was originally St. Paul’s church, built in 1850 and decommissioned in 1975. Bought in 1981 by The Verdin Company, the oldest bell and clock company in North America, it has now been carefully restored and contains a wonderful collection of historic bells and clocks.
Many more exciting talks are still to come on the final day of the Symposium. Remember to watch out for our full reports from the Symposium over the next few weeks, covering the scientific and family sessions. Don’t forget to keep following the live Symposium news, as well as all other BHD syndrome news on Twitter, hashtag #BHDSyndrome.