20 February 2020

Meeting report: 14th PVRI Annual World Congress on PVD in Lima

Report by Elena Goncherova, Harm Jan Bogaard, Max Gassmann and Paul Corris

Bienvenido PVRI en Lima! This was the first time that the PVRI has hosted its Annual World Congress in South America. Overall, the meeting was extremely successful, both scientifically and socially. Peru’s capital awaited us with ancient history, excellent food and exciting salsa music. The Swissôtel was an ideal choice with abundant facilities, which provided a fertile foundation for a very pleasant meeting. Many participants took the chance to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu before or after the meeting, Lima itself offered many fascinating spots that were mostly visited on Friday afternoon.

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The clinical sessions were very well attended and appreciated by the audience. A wide range of topics were presented, covering most disease areas of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and providing state of the art reviews, cutting edge methods and techniques, and future perspectives. The first clinical sessions were centered around the lessons to be learned from high altitude physiology. South American scientists were well represented and the audience was updated on diverse topics, ranging from haemoglobin levels to high altitude pulmonary edema and chronic mountain sickness. The session was followed by lively pro-con debates on risk assessment and TGFβ signaling and a clinical session on pulmonary veno-occlusive disease. The first day of scientific sessions was concluded by a lecture from Rupert Swift Awardee Emilia Swietlik, who presented her work on rare variants in different phenotypes of pulmonary arterial hypertension. 

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Emilia Swietlik gives the Rupert Swift Award lecture: 'Rare variant association study of multiple pulmonary hypertension phenotypes using a Bayesian statistics framework'

In addition to clinical studies, the PVRI meeting highlighted recent advances in innovative basic and early translational research in pulmonary hypertension. There was an interesting session on recent advances in PVOD and PCH, from genetic and molecular mechanisms of pulmonary venous remodelling to the role of Apelin receptors in PVOD and PAH.

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Stuart Rich (left) and Mark Geraci (right) before the 2020 Stuart Rich plenary lecture, 'Gene editing - ready for translation into clinical medicine'

The highlight of the second day was the outstanding Stuart Rich Plenary Lecture by Mark Geraci on the translational potential of gene editing in clinical medicine. The day started with a translational session on neonatal and paediatric pulmonary hypertension, followed by rapid fire oral presentations, which turned out to be a very efficient and exciting method of communication.

The third day of the conference started with a well-attended session on the novel molecular mechanisms driving PAH pathogenesis that focused on growth suppressor proteins and pre-clinical advances in remodelling-focused approaches to reverse PH. This session was followed by basic and early translational Rapid Fire Oral presentations by outstanding junior investigators who shared their recent work on new candidate genes, signaling pathways, and micro-RNAs as emerging therapeutic targets to treat PH. Further highlighting basic and translational studies in PH research, two moderated poster sessions provided a wonderful opportunity for interactive discussion and establishing new collaborations. The day concluded with a joint session with the ESC working Group on Pulmonary Circulation and Right Ventricular Function that discussed the current knowledge about the mechanisms of PH-HFpEF, potential to establish PH-targeted therapies, and new approaches to improve PH and RV function in HFpEF. The meeting was concluded by state-of-the-art session highlighting advances in our understanding of the role and potential therapeutic applications of long non-coding RNAs in pulmonary hypertension and RV hypertrophy and failure.

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Gregory Roth giving the 2020 Ghazwan Butrous plenary lecture entitled 'The global burden of cardiovascular diseases. What do we know about heart failure and pulmonary hypertension?'

A novel highlight for the PVRI was an innovative session on Global Health, including the Ghazwan Butrous Lecture given by Greg Roth from Washington University, Seattle. The PVRI has major plans to develop its global footprint in terms of raising both the local and global awareness of medical care available for PH. We heard about local efforts to set up a registry in Latin America and some early data from the Global Burden of disease project, on behalf of the World Health Organization. Future Congresses will continue to feature a session on Global Health.

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The PVRI Gala Dinner was held at the Lima Country Club

Overall, the meeting seamlessly condensed high quality scientific novelty and very educational state of the art reviews.

The Gala Dinner at the Lima Country Club that occurred just on the official Peruvian day of the Pisco Sour. We started the evening with a taste of this fabulous drink and the salsa dancing started before guests sat down.

We enjoyed great food, the awards presentation ceremony, and dancing until midnight. We wish to thank Stephanie, Andrea and the whole PVRI team for making this conference happen. We now very much look forward to Athens: Science and Sirtaki!


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