International Congress on Amyloidosis to be hosted by Heidelberg
18th Congress of the International Society of Amyloidosis (ISA) takes place at Heidelberg University from September 4 to 8, 2022 / Scientists present new findings from research and care of systemic amyloidoses / Rare disease causes massive symptoms due to deposition of misfolded proteins in the organs / Registration for online participants still possible
For the first time, the international professional society for amyloidosis is presenting its annual congress in Germany and in a hybrid format. The organizers are Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) together with representatives from the Spanish Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and the University Hospital San Matteo in Pavia, Italy. For five days, around 1000 experts from all over the world will discuss scientific results, including new gene therapy approaches for the treatment of systemic amyloidosis. In this rare disease, misfolded proteins are deposited in the body.
Registration for online participation is open until August 20, 2022. On the last day of the congress, physicians from the UKHD will inform affected persons about the disease and its treatment at the Patient Day.
Heidelberg amyloidosis competence center as a pioneer in Germany
"We are honored to host the 18th International Congress of the International Society of Amyloidosis this year and to welcome the world's most distinguished researchers and physicians to Heidelberg," says Professor Ute Hegenbart, spokesperson for the Amyloidosis Center in the Department of Hematology, Oncology, Rheumatology (Medical Director Prof. Carsten Müller-Tidow) at the UKHD. Together with Professor Stefan Schönland, Medical Director of the Amyloidosis Outpatient Clinic and new President of the ISA, the senior physician is organizing this year's congress.
In Heidelberg, intensive work has been devoted to this disease for a long time. "The Amyloidosis Center was a nationwide pioneer in research and therapy when it was founded in 2008. We are now one of the five largest centers of excellence worldwide," says Prof. Schönland. "For the past four years, we have also been running a national registry to determine the frequency of the disease and use it to generate knowledge for new treatment options."
The rare disease can affect various organs
Amyloidosis is the general term for a rare group of diseases in which misfolded proteins, i.e. proteins whose structure has changed, are deposited as so-called amyloid in various tissues and disturb organ functions. The first signs and symptoms vary according to the organ affected. The congress is focused on the large group of systemic amyloidoses. In contrast, there are localized amyloidoses, including Alzheimer's dementia, which are limited to one organ or tissue.
Many amyloidoses take a severe course, such as hereditary ATTR amyloidosis, which is due to the misfolding of the protein transthyretin (TTR), which is produced in the liver. As the disease progresses, untreated ATTR amyloidosis becomes life-threatening and leads to heart and nerve damage within a few years. For some years now, new therapeutic approaches have been developed that promise good results for those affected. These include gene therapy based on the elimination of the disease-causing gene. Other therapeutic approaches block the formation or stabilize transthyretin. All approaches ensure that the disease-causing protein can no longer be deposited in the body.
For light chain (AL) amyloidosis, in which the disease-causing protein is formed in the bone marrow, a monoclonal antibody in combination with chemotherapy was approved for treatment for the first time last year. Other new therapies will be discussed in detail at the congress.unnecessarily.