Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute Annual Report 2013

PVRI Member Authors: Ghazwan Butrous, Nikki Krol

PVRI Meetings

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Board of Directors & Advisors Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Jan 21st 2013

The Board of Directors and Advisors meeting January 21st, 2013

The Board of Directors and Advisors meeting January 21st, 2013, took place in the Ritz Carlton hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. Scheduled one day before the AGM meeting, the Board discussed the progress of the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute in the last year and since its inception, and proposed changes to the management structure. An important topic was how to generate revenue to allow the PVRI sustainability in future. To this end, the Board invited consultants from management consulting and strategic analytics firm 20/20 to speak during the meeting and present options for the PVRI’s sustainability. Also discussed was the lack of annual dues payment in 2012, and options to increase compliance in 2013. Dr.Waxman presented his thoughts on the Right Heart Failure Foundation initiative, later echoed in the scientific workshops, and the progress of the Pulmonary Circulation journal was included in the topics of discussion. Board and BODA members present included Bert van den Bergh, Antonio Lopez, Martin Wilkins, Ghazwan Butrous, Declan Doogan, Sheila G. Haworth, Stuart Rich, Ahvie Herskowitz, Magdi Yacoub, Simon Campbell, as well as Special Member Aaron Waxman and PVRI Executive admin Nikki Krol. The Board decided to meet again in 2013 to see the progress of proposed plans and initiatives.


Board of Directors and Advisors Meeting, Chicago, USA, June 22nd 2013

The meeting began by reviewing the business plan that was developed with the PVRI and 20/20 that began last year. It was reiterated that the PVRI will remain an independent physician/scientists organization, serving as the voice for academia and patients with pulmonary vascular diseases worldwide. The Board reviewed all of the activities of the PVRI in the past and the planned activities for the future. These included:

• the annual scientific meeting of the Fellows

• the continued support of the Pulmonary Circulation Journal • further development of the host repository of educational material on the PVRI website

• promoting the PVRI’s role as an advisory body to champion the development of and access to new therapies

 • establishing a critical focus on increasing membership

• the hiring of an executive director The meeting was attended by Ghazwan Butrous, Declan Doogan, Ahvie Herskowitz, Bert van den Bergh, Stuart Rich, and Martin Wilkins.


Short Report on the 7th Annual General Meeting and 6th Workshops and Debates, Istanbul, Turkey, Jan 21-25th 2013

The 7th PVRI AGM and 6th Scientific Workshops and Debates were held in Istanbul, Turkey. Spanning five full days, with nearly 200 attendees, the meeting is considered the largest conference on PVD issues ever held. The discussion-based meeting included topics as diverse as global clinical trials, paediatric pulmonary hypertension, new molecular targets for pharmacotherapy, exercise testing in PVD, the role of inflammation, and region-specific issues, targets and goals. As all delegates were considered both speaker and attendee, they were heavily encouraged to share data, experiences and thoughts both in and out of the meeting room, and many brought slides or prepared poster presentations. Similarly, a number of attendees prepared a secondary lecture, presentation, or interview, to be recorded by the PVRI Young Council for the population of the PVRI Educational Website. Over the course of 5 days, 71 conference talks and abstract presentations were recorded, and are now available on the PVRI educational website. Full length social and scientific reports are also featured online at http://tinyurl.com/pjjl88g.

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Clockwise from top left: Aaron Waxman, Ghazwan Butrous and Victor Tapson smile at the Istanbul meeting; Prof. Xiansheng Cheng accepts the first PVRI Lifetime Achievement Award from President Martin Wilkins; Brian Graham (right), recipient of the 2013 PVRI Certificate of Excellence, smiles with Angela Bandeira; Fellows dance at the Gala Dinner; attendees in the scientific sessions; PVRI 7 year birthday cake; PVRI Fellows smile together; the ECCPS Giessen group receives the PVRI Achievement Award 2013

Meeting Report: Annual PVRI Get Together at the ATS, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 20 May 2013

Author: Sachindra Joshi, PVRI Chronicle Editor in Chief On May 20th, 2013, the PVRI held a Get-Together at the American Thoracic Society meeting in Philadelphia from 9-11pm. The PVRI global family met up again with characteristic enthusiasm, to bring together the pulmonary scientists under one umbrella and spread the mission of PVRI to “increase the awareness and knowledge of pulmonary vascular diseases, and to facilitate advances in the treatment of affected people worldwide”. The event was held minutes away from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel. Coffee and an array of desserts were available at the social event, though alcohol was not served- which led to some grumblings. Naturally, names will not be named, but it was suggested that a full day of travel and meetings warranted a beer, a least for certain Germans and PVRI will certainly be consider this feedback for the next Get Together.

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Dr. Michael Yeager did an excellent job regarding the organization of the Get Together, and welcomed all the guests and PVRI members. He further initiated the social gathering by asking Prof. Werner Seeger to speak on behalf of PVRI. Prof. Seeger highlighted the recent updates on the PVRI website and mentioned its user-friendly nature and social media-type applications. Similar to Facebook, one can manage their profile online, and post blogs, images and more. He also applauded the “buddy system”, which allows members and Fellows to make donations to cover the costs of membership for those physicians and clinicians living in less affluent areas. Dr. Seeger also commended the PVRI educational website, and touched specifically on features such as the Atlas, Conference Talks, Interviews, and Lectures. Many of these are open access whilst others are restricted to PVRI members, and their usefulness in terms of education and access cannot be disputed. Prof. Seeger also introduced the newly formed PVRI Young Council led by Dr. Zeenat Safdar and Dr. Stylianos Orfanos, and spoke briefly of their importance to the PVRI. In essence, the Young Council are an imperative part of the PVRI’s future, and aid in populating the educational website, the PVRI Journals, and in organizing recordings at the annual meeting. These annual meetings and PVRI international conferences are held in different parts of the globe, Prof. Seeger continued, such South America, South Africa and more recently in Turkey, in order to fairly deliver the message of PVRI to a global audience.

Continuing the theme, Prof. Werner Seeger invited all attendees to the next PVRI Annual General Meeting and Scientific Workshops in Giessen, Germany. He mentioned that Giessen may not be the world’s warmest place in January, but that this should be seen as an advantage- after all, when outside is sludge, the meeting rooms and the science becomes all that much more appealing. Prof. Seeger followed this announcement with an acknowledgement of Pulmonary Circulation’s recent accomplishment of being indexed in PubMed, and encouraged applause for Dr. Jason Yuan, Prof. Nicholas Morrell and the Pulmonary Circulation family for its success. He further emphasized the need to promote the Journal by submitting articles and citing it in new work in order to increase the impact factor. Finally, Prof. Seeger thanked everyone who attended the Get Together, and wished everyone an enjoyable evening, with or without beer. Following his welcome talk, a productive social chat went on for the rest of evening. There were over 40 people in the room actively networking with global partners, hatching new ideas and forging new collaborations. This vibrant and energetic social event fit right into the PVRI tradition, and plans are in place for the next get-together at ATS 2014 in San Diego.

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Meeting Report: Regional SAPH meeting, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, April 2013

Author: Maha Al-Dabbagh, Conference Head, SAPH 2013 Regional Head, Pediatric and CHD Task Force, SAPH

The Regional SAPH 2013 meeting took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, April 24-26th 2013. This year, there were 237 participants. This is a 32% increase in the number of attendees compared to the previous regional conference held in 2011. 2 years ago, there were only 2 International speakers, while this year the SAPH succeeded in inviting 7 international speakers. The total number of regional speakers was 9. During the meeting, SAPH signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the American PHA.

The conference spanned two days, concentrating on different aspect of PH management. The first day started by having a moment of silence as a gesture of respect for the death of Prof Robyn Barst. Organized as “Pulmonary Hypertension in the Young”, all lectures on the first day were directed towards the advances in managing pediatric PH patients, invasive intervention in pediatric patients, and understanding hemodynamics in this group of patients. The second day was organized to cover the updated recommendation generated from the 5th Nice PH World Congress.

A gala dinner was held in the evening of the second day. Dr Idrees (President of SAPH) and Dr Dabbagh (Conference Chair) distributed the trophies and certificates to all speakers, chairpersons, and executive SAPH member. The meeting was a real success, and conference organizers have received many positive compliments from many sources.


The 6th National Congress on Pulmonary Embolism and Pulmonary Vascular Diseases & 4th International Symposium on Pulmonary Circulation Disorders, Chongqing, China, 19-21 July 2013

The PVRI China Taskforce organized the 6th National Congress on Pulmonary Embolism and Pulmonary Vascular Diseases and the 4th International Symposium on Pulmonary Circulation disorders in collaboration with PVRI China Centre. The meeting took place from the 19th to the 21st of July 2013, in the Tianlai International Conference Hall. The PVRI Section contained lectures from PVRI Fellows Martin Wilkins, London, UK; Ghazwan Butrous Canterbury, UK; and Lan Zhao, London, UK.

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Scenes from the meeting, clockwise from top left: Martin Wilkins, Xiansheng Cheng and Cheng Wang; Ghazwan Butrous and Xiansheng Cheng in PVRI shirts; panellists; listening delegates, Xiansheng Cheng with Lan Zhao; and the view from the audience.

Pulmonary Vascular Diseases Forum, Fu Wai Hospital, Beijing, China

The Pulmonary Vascular Diseases Forum is a product of a longstanding collaboration between the PVRI China Taskforce and Fu Wai Hospital. An annual event, this year’s meeting took place August 9-10 2013 in Beijing, China, and featured talks from renowned experts such as Zhihong Liu, Lan Zhao FPVRI, Jianguo He FPVRI, Nazzareno Galie, and Xiansheng Cheng FPVRI. Fu Wai hospital is the largest hospital in China that specialises in treatment, prevention and research in cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and their complications. Since its founding in 1956, 6 million outpatients from 32 different provinces in the nation, as well as 6 countries worldwide, have received care in Fu Wai hospital. Its mission against pulmonary vascular diseases aligned with the PVRI in the August meeting. The meeting covered the following topics:

• Session I: Pathogenesis and Diagnosis of Pulmonary Hypertension

• Session II: Prevention and Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension

• Session III: Pulmonary Hypertension: 2013 Update

• Session IV: Deep Venous Thromboembolism and Pulmonary Embolism

• Session V: Prevention and Treatment Strategy for Deep Venous Thromboembolism and Pulmonary Embolism

• Session VI: Pulmonary Hypertension and Right Heart Function

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Grover Conference, September 4-8, 2013

In 2013, the PVRI co-sponsored the American Thoracic Society 2013 Grover conference held in Sedalia, Colorado, in conjunction with the American Thoracic Society (primary sponsor), the Cardiovascular Medical Research and Education Fund, and co-sponsor, the CPR Council of the American Heart Association. There was also strong support from industry, Actelion Pharmaceuticals US, Inc., Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Lung LLC, and the United Therapeutics Corporation. Nearly 80 pulmonary hypertension specialists gathered for four days at the scenic and tranquil Lost Valley Conference Center in September to discuss pulmonary vascular disease and right ventricular dysfunction. The Grover Conference is the ATS Assembly on Pulmonary Circulation’s longest running meeting and featured debates and scientific presentations on ventricular-vascular coupling, right ventricular fetal signaling, stem cell therapy, and metabolism of the RVPA unit. Conference eponym Robert F. Grover, MD, PhD, also presented his work on high altitude pulmonary hypertension in residents of Leadville and Brisket Disease, which he performed with the late Dr. Jack Reeves and others. The conference talk was recorded, and is available on the PVRI website

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VIII Congress Euro-Asian Respiratory Society International Symposium

The 7th Congress of Euro-Asian Respiratory Society and IV Congress of Kyrgyz Thoracic Society was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, November 7th to 9th 2013. Respiratory colleagues from various Central-Asian countries attended the meeting, including the Russian Federation, as well as delegates from all over the globe. Rich with science and discussion, the meeting was an opportunity for members of the PVRI to interact and innovate with colleagues from Central Asian countries. Martin Wilkins FPVRI, Lan Zhao FPVRI, Jean-Paul Richalet FPVRI, Ralph Schermuly FPVRI, Takeshi Ishizaki FPVRI and Baktybek Kojonazarov FPVRI were amongst those present and active in the meeting. The Congress was opened by Minister of Health Dinara Sagynbaev and President of The Congress Prof. Almaz Aldashev FPVRI.

In the opening ceremony, Prof. Butrous presented a talk on the global impact of pulmonary vascular diseases, which was followed by a number of lectures on sleep disorders at high altitude, chaired by Konrad E. Bloch and M. Mirrakhimov FPVRI, and featuring lectures by Talant Sooronbaev FPVRI, Tsogyal Latshang FPVRI, Konrad E. Bloch and Michael Furian. During the Hypoxia meeting, Prof Martin Wilkins FPVRI, President of the PVRI, was elected an honorary member (academician) of the National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyz Republic. This honour was presented by Prof. Erkebaev, the President of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, on 8 November. In his speech, Prof. Erkebaev recognised the contributions of Prof. Wilkins to scientific research in the Kyrgyz Republic, as a result of a longstanding and ongoing collaboration with Prof Aldashev. Prof Wilkins received a diploma and the traditional Kyrgyz gown - the ceremonial Ak-Kalpak and Chepken.


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International Symposium Hypoxic Pulmonary Hypertension and Problems of Mountain Medicine, Bishkek, Nov 8-9th 2013

The International Symposium Hypoxic Pulmonary Hypertension and Problems of Mountain Medicine followed the Respiratory Conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, and took place in the same location November 8-9th 2013. During the hypoxia meeting, the PVRI honoured two young investigators for their work and research. Their names are Batyr Osmonov and Diana Asambaeva, and they were presented with a certificate by the Vice-President of the National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyz Republic, Prof. Almaz Aldashev, PVRI President Prof. Martin Wilkins, and PVRI Managing Director Ghazwan Butrous (all FPVRI). These two young people have shown themselves to be exceptional within their field and have since been made Fellows of the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute.

 Batyr Osmonov is a physician in the Pulmonology and Allergology Department of the National Center of Cardiology and Internal Medicine in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Currently he holds a residency on the Internal Diseases Department at the Kyrgyz State Medical Institute, and in 2012 he became a member of the Kyrgyz Thoracic Society. His main interests lay in sleep apnea, high altitude pulmonary hypertension and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. 



Diana Asambaeva is a Junior Researcher at the Research Institute of Molecular Biology and Medicine at the National Center of Cardiology and Therapy in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Her interests include the study of genetic markers in patients with metabolic syndrome in the Kyrgyz population, the study of the role of polymorphisms in the development of high-altitude pulmonary hypertension in the Kyrgyz highlanders by PCR, and real-time PCR.

Prof. Almaz Aldashev organised a special PVRI session on November 8th and 9th at the National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyz Republic, with a focus on sleep disorders at high altitude, the role of Rho-kinase and NO in hypoxic pulmonary hypertension, and the problems of mountain medicine. Ralph Schermuly, Norbert Weissmann, Lan Zhao, Almaz Aldashev, Baktybek Kojonazarov, Djuro Kosanovic, Martin Wilkins, Takeshi Ishizaki, and Jean-Paul Richalet were amongst the PVRI Fellows and members presenting at the meeting.

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PVRI Taskforces

PVRI Pulmonary Hypertension associated with HIV Taskforce

Taskforce Leaders

Sharilyn Almodovar USA ,Nicola Petrosillo, Italy, Sonia C. Flores, USA

Taskforce Members Rosie Burton, South Africa Friedrich Thienemann, South Africa Okechukwu Ogah, Nigeria Anastase Dzudie, Cameroon Jürgen Rockstroh, Bonn, Germany Amam Mbakwem, Nigeria Mahmoud Sanim, Nigeria Harrison Farber, USA

Educational Events/Meetings November 2012 Dr. Sharilyn Almodovar was accepted to the Keystone Symposia Fellows Program (Class 2013), which is a research-driven, diversity-centered program that allows early-career scientists to interact with high caliber national and international scientists and provides insights regarding the development of high-powered research meetings. This will represent a significant expansion in the networks of the PVRI members.

September 2013 Dr. Nicola Petrosillo attended the “53rd Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy” (ICAAC 2013) meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA. This meeting provided Drs. Petrosillo, Almodovar and Flores an opportunity to meet in Denver and discuss their current research endeavors and future plans for the HIV-PH taskforce.


 1. Lozupone CA, Li M, Campbell TB, Flores SC, Linderman D, Gebert MJ, Knight R, Fontenot AP, Palmer BE. Alterations in the gut microbiota associated with HIV-1 infection indicate that diet and the immune system interact to shape composition, CellHost-Microbe (2013, in press)

2. Fiorentini A, Petrosillo N, Di Stefano A, Cicalini S, Borgognoni L, Boumis E, Tubani L, Chinello P. QTc interval prolongation in HIV-infected patients: a case-control study by 24-hour Holter ECG recording. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2012 Dec 23;12:124

3. Twigg 3rd HL, Morris A, Ghedin E, Curtis JL, Huffnagle GB, Crothers K, Campbell TB, Flores SC, Fontenot AP, Beck JM, Huang L, Lynch S, Knox KS, Weinstock G, on behalf of the Lung HIV Microbiome Project. Use of bronchoalveolar lavage to assess the respiratory microbiome: signal in the noise. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine (2013) Jul; 1(5): 354-356.

4. Lopez-Astacio R, Reno SM, Schoen RO, Flores SC, Almodovar S. Pulmonary Hypertension Associated with Human Immunodeficiency Virus: Uncovering Viral Evolution via Bioinformatics. FASEB Journal (2013); 27: 52.1.

 5. Flores S and Almodovar S. Human immunodeficiency virus, herpes virus infections and pulmonary vascular disease. Pulmonary Circulation (2013),3:165-70; PMCID: PMC3641726.

 6. Lozupone C, Cota-Gomez A, Palmer BE, Linderman DJ, Charlson ES, Sodergren E, Mitreva M, Abubucker S, Martin J, Yao G, Campbell TB, Flores SC, Ackerman G, Stombaugh J, Ursell L, Beck JM, Curtis JL, Young VB, Lynch SV, Huang L, Weinstock GM, Knox KS, Twigg H, Morris A, Ghedin E, Bushman FD, Collman RG, Knight R, Fontenot AP; for the Lung HIV Microbiome Project. Widespread Colonization of the Lung by Tropheryma whipplei in HIV Infection. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. (2013) May 15;187(10):1110-7.

7. Morris A, Beck JM, Schloss PD, Campbell TB, Crothers K, Curtis JL, Flores SC, Fontenot AP, Ghedin E, Huang L, Jablonski K, Kleerup E, Lynch SV, Sodergren E, Twigg H, Young VB, Bassis CM, Venkataraman A, Schmidt TM, Weinstock GM; Lung HIV Microbiome Project. Comparison of the respiratory microbiome in healthy nonsmokers and smokers. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 May 15;187(10).

 8. Lopez-Astacio RA, Re no SM, Schoen RO, Flores SC, Almodovar S . “Evolution of Human Immunodeficiency Virus : a translational view into Pulmonary Hypertension?” Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal (2013) Mar; 32(1):

 Current research initiatives

Clinical and basic laboratory evidence indicates that HIV proteins are associated with the pathogenesis of vascular remodeling PAH-HIV. Our group found amino acid substitutions in the Nef protein statistically associated with the PAH phenotype; these substitutions clustered around Nef functional domains that may confer the Nef with novel molecular adaptor functions. Drs. Sonia C. Flores and Todd Bull have been recently funded by the National Institutes of Health/ National Lung and Blood Institute with a multi-institutional cooperative grant (U01) to study the mechanisms of HIV-related lung disease. Specifically, the new studies will examine the functional properties of nef alleles containing these amino acid substitutions from PAH-HIV individuals. In addition, Dr. Nicola Petrosillo has been actively involved in a study to assess myocardial and microvascular coronary inflammation among patients with PH. This study uses endomyocardial biopsies as main specimens and represents a collaborative effort with Dr. Andrea Frustaci, from the Cardiology Department at the La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy.

Goal Summary 2014

• The HIV-PH taskforce would like to propose the following goals for 2014:

• To continue increasing the awareness of PH among the HIV Specialists by educational meetings and collaborative projects.

• To develop new, multi-institutional mechanistic studies using the samples deposited in the Pan African Pulmonary Hypertension Cohort Study (PAPUCO)

• To engage early career investigators into PVRI Taskforces, in order to foster their development as potential future leaders.


PVRI Pulmonary Hypertension Associated With Congenital Heart Disease Taskforce

Taskforce Leaders

Antonio Augusto Lopes, Brazil Marlene Rabinovitch, USA

Taskforce members

Adbullah Alkhorayyef, Canada Maria Virginia T. Santana, Brazil Ana Maria Thomaz, Brazil Nair Yukie Maeda, Brazil Ana Olga Mocumbi, Mozambique Omar Al-Tamini, Saudi Arabia Hanaa Banjar, Saudi Arabia Patricia Cortez, Ecuador Ian Adatia, Canada Vera D. Aiello, Brazil Khalid Alnajashi, Saudi Arabia Sheila G. Haworth, UK Leína Zorzanelli, Brazil Tarek Kashour, Saudi Arabia Maha Al Dabbagh, Saudi Arabia Tilman Humpl, Canada Maria Angélica Binotto, Brazil Maria Jesus Del Cerro, Spain

Educational events

1.As a result of the kind collaboration of Atitude Studios in São Paulo, Brazil, all of the internet videoconferences included in the PAH Forum Program were kept on site throughout the year of 2013 (www.pahforum.com). The access is completely free, and more than one thousand colleagues (graph) from more than fifty different countries (table) have watched the conferences over the last years.

• Videoconference 1 - PAH – Congenital heart disease: to operate or not to operate: that the question

 • Videoconference 2: PAH – Congenital heart disease: from diagnosis to outcome

• Videoconference 3: Pulmonary hypertension with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) • Videoconference 4: Congenital heart disease and PAH in high altitudes

• Videoconference 5: Pulmonary hypertension associated with Schistosomiasis

 • Videoconference 6: The Right ventricle inpulmonary hypertension

 • Videoconference 7: Pulmonary Vascular Diseases in Rheumatic and Congenital Heart Diseases • Videoconference 8: Pathology of pulmonary vascular disease

• Videoconference 9: Oxygen sensing in the ductus arteriosus and the pulmonary circulation

• Videoconference 10: Pulmonary arterial hypertension associated with HIV infection

• Videoconference 11: Combined clinical and surgical approaches to congenital heart diseases associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension.

• Videoconference 12: Exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension.

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PVRI Chronicle Vol 1: Issue 1 cover image

June 2014

PVRI Chronicle Vol 1: Issue 1

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