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Open Scheme Report

Irish Society of Surgical Pathologists, Belfast 7th and 8th November 2008
(Glenn McCluggage)

3rd UK Cancer Stem Cell Symposium
(Malcolm Alison)

27th IAP International Congress
(Estelle Chanudet)


Irish Society of Surgical Pathologists, Belfast 7th and 8th November 2008

The 6th annual meeting of the Irish Society of Surgical Pathologists (ISSP) was held at Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast, November 7th and 8th 2008. Local organisers were Professor Glenn McCluggage (Belfast) and Dr Joe Houghton (Craigavon). The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland kindly provided funding through the Open Scheme, and specifically sponsored the Gynaecological Pathology Symposium on the afternoon of 7th November.

The turnout was excellent with approximately 120 pathologists attending.  The morning session on 7th November was devoted to targeted therapy with three speakers, all of whom gave excellent lectures.  Dr Mary Padilla (Tuscon, Arizona) and Dr Michael Jeffers (Dublin) spoke about Her-2 testing in breast carcinoma and Professor Manfred Dietl (Berlin) gave an overview of K-RAS mutation testing in colorectal carcinomas.  The gynaecological pathology symposium on the afternoon of 7th November had three speakers.  Professor Glenn McCluggage lectured on recent developments in ovarian epithelial tumours.  This was followed by a lecture from guest speaker Professor Robin Young (Boston, USA) who talked about unusual morphological features in ovarian carcinomas.  Dr Mary Casey (Galway) concluded the gynaecological pathology symposium with a lecture on current issues in cervical cytology in Southern Ireland.  The afternoon was concluded by a dermatopathology symposium with two speakers.  Dr Maureen Walsh (Belfast) talked about inflammatory lesions of the skin and Dr Naimh Leonard (Liverpool) lectured on melanocytic lesions.  All the talks were well received with considerable interest from the audience. 

Quote1By universal consensus, was an enjoyable and excellent meetingQuote2
from an educational and social viewpoints

The Society dinner was held on the evening of 7th November in Wellington Park Hotel. There were three brief scheduled after dinner speeches from Professors Glenn McCluggage and Robin Young and Dr Sean O’Brain (President of ISSP). There were also several unscheduled speeches, all of which contributed to an excellent evening/early morning.

On the morning of 8th November, there was a slide seminar on interesting gynaecological and dermatopathology cases.  The cases were presented by trainee pathologists throughout Ireland and a prize was awarded for the best presentation.  The slide seminar was followed by the guest lecture delivered by Professor Robin Young (Robert E. Scully Professor of Pathology, Harvard University, Boston) entitled “Working with a giant; reflections on a 30 year collaboration with Dr Robert E. Scully”.  For many this was the highlight of the meeting and Professor Young gave a very personal, entertaining and educational account of his career working in Boston with Dr Scully. 

By universal consensus, was an enjoyable and excellent meeting from an educational and social viewpoints.  The turnout greatly exceeded expectations and all left Belfast looking forward to the next meeting to be held in Cork in 2009.  The organisers would like to thank all the sponsors, including the Pathological Society, for their generous support of this meeting.

Glenn McCluggage

3rd UK Cancer Stem Cell Symposium

The Pathological Society sponsored the 3rd UK Cancer Stem Cell Symposium, held on November 13th and hosted by Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in Whitechapel. Malcolm Alison kicked off with a review of ‘What’s new in cancer stem cells’, highlighting recent controversies of whether or not CD133 can be used to select for colorectal cancer (CRC) stem cells, and questioning whether cancer stem cells really are rare cells in tumours. For the gut, Nick Wright described how niche succession, clonal conversion and crypt/gland fission are the mechanisms behind field cancerization in the gastrointestinal tract, while Thomas Brabletz (Freiburg) advanced the hypothesis that the progression of CRC is facilitated by the epithelial to mesenchymal transition of tumour cells at the invasive front that act as migrating cancer stem cells.

In prostate cancer, David Hudson (York) identified NFkB as a key transcription factor enabling resistance to apoptosis, but not all pancreatic cancer stem cells were eliminated using an NFkB inhibitor. In the development of AML, Claus Nerlov (Edinburgh) highlighted the significance of mutations in the gene encoding the transcription factor C/EBPa for the expansion of pre-leukaemic stem cells. In the epidermis, Carrie Ambler (Durham) described the importance of Jagged/Notch interactions in epidermal and dermal homeostasis.

Silvia Marino (London) described her studies showing that over-expression of the Polycomb group gene, Bmi1, enhances self-renewal of neural stem cells, but has yet to show that such over-expression is linked to the development of brain tumour stem cells. John Stingl (Cambridge) described cell hierarchies in mouse and human mammary glands, with stem cells in both having an EpCAMlow/med CD49f basal cell phenotype. Lisa Harper and Daniela Costea (London) illustrated apoptotic resistance in a number of CD44-positive putative cancer stem cells in various carcinomas, and this appeared to be related to an extended arrest within the G2 phase.

In the final session, Malcolm Alison provided evidence that hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can originate from either hepatocytes or biliary-derived progenitor cells; several markers of HCC stem cells have been proposed, but CD133 appears the most ‘popular’. Cleo Bishop (London) described an exciting genome-wide siRNA screening approach that had identified 182 siRNA that either up- or down-regulated the tumour suppressor gene, p16INK4a. She further suggested that age-associated decays in Hh/Wnt signalling could lead to elevated p16, associated with cell cycle arrest. Juan-Jose Ventura (Cambridge) described molecular pathways involved in the histogenesis of lung cancer, noting the critical importance of the loss of p38MAPK, LKB1 and the Cdk inhibitors p18 and p27 in the process. The meeting concluded with a guest lecture by Denis Corbeil (Dresden), who first identified and cloned the stem cell marker prominin-1 (CD133). He gave a fascinating insight into the membrane functions of CD133. Many of the speakers at the Symposium are authors of articles in the 2009 Annual Review Issue of the Journal of Pathology.

Speakers at the 3rd UK Cancer stem cells Symposium
Speakers at the 3rd UK Cancer stem cells Symposium
in the Perrin Lecture Theatre at Whitechapel.
From left to right: David Hudson, Claus Nerlov, Malcolm Alison, Ian Mackenzie,
John Stingl, Lisa Harper, Cleo Bishop, Daniela Costea, Thomas Brabletz, Silvia Marino.

Malcolm Alison

27th IAP International Congress

I am grateful to the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland for making it possible for me to attend the 27th International Congress of the International Academy of Pathology.

This was an amazing opportunity to present my work on the A20 gene in MALT lymphoma. I have shown this genetic abnormality is linked with histopathological features and with adverse clinical outcome, and a number of clinicians came to discuss these findings with me. As a PhD student, this was brilliant training for my communication skills and a source of knowledge that will benefit the thesis that I am now writing on the molecular genetics of MALT lymphoma.

The clinical sessions and poster presentations were outstanding, covering recent advances in all the fields of pathology, and gave me a unique chance to extend my knowledge and widen my view of research.

Last but not least, the meeting has helped to reinforce our existing collaboration, and very importantly, the direct clinical impact of the work I have presented facilitated the contacts/interactions, and I am delighted to have been introduced to world reknown experts in my field.

I am returning my Department having made contact with potential new international clinical collaborators willing to share their cases of MALT lymphoma and other lymphomas on which our Department is working, and who in turn are interested in sharing our expertise in technologies such as array CGH on paraffin-embedded tissue that we have successfully mastered in connection with my studies of genomic abnormalities associated with MALT lymphoma.

Estelle Chanudet
Division of Molecular Histopathology,
Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, CB2 OQQ

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