The Sixth Annual Bench-to-Bedside Frontiers of Clinical Investigation Symposium was held at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel in La Jolla, California, on October 13-15, 2011. The Symposium is jointly produced by Nature Medicine and the UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI). It brings together people who do not typically share the same conference room—basic, clinical, and translational investigators, as well as physicians—to discuss recent advances on subjects of broad interest.
The 2011 Symposium explored the vascular system in terms of normal development, pathological states, and novel diagnostics and therapeutics, particularly strategies to personalize treatments to individuals. The Course Directors were David Cheresh, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Associate Director for Translational Research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center; Juan Carlos Lopez, PhD, Chief Editor of Nature Medicine; and Gary S. Firestein, MD, Professor of Medicine, Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine and Director of the CTRI.
Speakers from the United States and Canada presented both published and unpublished work, as well as current controversies, in six sessions: Angiogenic Triggers and Regulation, Vascular Inflammation and Remodeling, Vascular Malformation, Vascular Homeostasis and Injury, Clinical Cardiovascular Studies, and Mechanisms of Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease. As with previous Symposia, clinicians could obtain Continuing Medical Education credit for participating.
The Scientific Keynote, “New Insights in the Regulation of Angiogenesis”, was delivered by Napoleone Ferrara, MD, PhD (Genentech), whose research on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) led to the development of bevacizumab, an anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody, which was the first anti-angiogenic therapy approved for cancer. A few examples from other speakers illustrate the variety of topics and approaches covered:
- The different molecular “zip codes” of blood vessels in various organs are being studied as targets for diagnosing and/or treating cancer, obesity, and lung disorders
- Epigenetics might play a role in the pathogenesis of vasculitis, possibly by causing inappropriate expression of neutrophil autoantigen genes
- Carboxyalklypyrroles generated as end products of inflammation-induced phospholipid oxidation have VEGF-independent roles in wound healing, tumor angiogenesis, revascularization of ischemic tissues, and age-related macular degeneration
- Small-molecule metabolites can correlate with myocardial ischemia well before the rise in troponin. Elevated levels of certain amino acids strongly correlate with the risk of diabetes, years before the onset of disease
A supplement of Nature Medicine focusing on the vascular system is expected to be published in November.
About UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute:
UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) is part of a national Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium, led by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Science. Established in 2010, ACTRI provides infrastructure and support for basic, translational and clinical research throughout the San Diego region to bring discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside, and facilitates training and education of the next generation of researchers. ACTRI carries out its activities in collaboration with institutional and corporate partners and currently has more than 1,500 members.