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The 17th International Vasculitis & ANCA Workshop was held in London on April 19-22. Physicians and researchers from around the world gathered at the Business Design Centre to share and hear about the latest advances in the field of vasculitis, and to network with healthcare professionals and scientists.

All photos by Susan Hogan.
All photos by Susan Hogan.

Several UNC researchers were invited to speak at the workshop and present posters; those who gave talks included Ron Falk, MD, Charles Jennette, MD, Donna Bunch, PhD, Peiqi Hu, MD, Britta Jones, PhD Candidate, Olivier Lardinois, PhD, William Pendergraft III, MD, PhD, and Jiajin Yang, MD. Posters were presented by Elizabeth Brant, MD, Donna Bunch, PhD, Delesha Carpenter, PhD, MPH, Dominic Ciavatta, PhD, Meghan Free, PhD, Susan Hogan, PhD, MPH, Olivier Lardinois, PhD, and Carolyn Thorpe, PhD, MPH. Sofia Lionaki, MD, a former Visiting Scholar at UNC, also presented a poster and gave a talk at the workshop; Dr. Lionaki is currently at Laikon Hospital of Athens, Greece.

UNC presentations covered a broad spectrum of research topics, such as the many complications that ANCA vasculitis can cause in a patient, including effects on cardiovascular outcomes, the lungs, and neurological system as well as increased risks for venous thromboembolism (VTE), or clotting. Scientists hope to understand these complications better through their research, and learn to detect them ahead of time to improve outcomes for patients.

Researchers also addressed the importance of studying biomarkers of disease to better understand and in the future hopefully prevent relapse from occurring. Research presented on this topic included a genetic analysis of proteins to study indicators of relapse, and a study measuring cells taken from patients undergoing a specific treatment.

Presentations of UNC laboratory research also included new ways to detect drug-induced ANCA to help expedite diagnosis and treatment in this rare population. Another important lab research presentation examined the differences in underlying biologic mechanisms between MPO and PR3 ANCA.

Another topic discussed was the social impact of the disease; including the way ANCA affects the lives of patients, and the need for social support. Presentations also addressed the economic impact of disease; one presentation examined the cost of hospital stays.

The workshop, which takes place every two years, serves as an opportunity for researchers to collaborate, present and discuss research related to ANCA vasculitis. Discussions and meetings often lead to future collaborations among the scientists, partnerships which strengthen the research being done in the field. Several physicians and researchers presented research in collaboration with UNC, from several universities:

University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Dimitrios Chanouzas, MD, Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, and his mentor Lorraine Harper, MD, Renal Immunobiology, Centre for Translational Inflammation Research, University of Birmingham Research Laboratories, Queen Elizabeth Hospital

University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Anna Mistry, MD and mentor Raashid Luqmani, MD, of the Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences

University of Pennsylvania

Rennie Rhee, MD, and mentor, Peter Merkel, MD, of the Division of Rheumatology

University of Pittsburgh

Carolyn Thorpe, PHD, MPH, Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy, and former UNC trainee

The first International Vasculitis Workshop took place 27 years ago and was held in Copenhagen shortly after the discovery of ANCA. Since that time, remarkable progress has been made in the understanding of vasculitis. In 2011, UNC hosted the 15th International Workshop, and the 16th International Workshop took place in Paris in 2013. The next International ANCA Workshop will be held in 2017 in Tokyo.

All photos by Susan Hogan.

Poster Presentations

From top left, clockwise: Elizabeth Brant, MD; William Pendergraft III, MD, PhD, Meghan Free, PhD and Elizabeth Brant, MD; Susan Hogan, PhD, MPH and Anna Mistry, MD; Sofia Lionaki, MD; Donna Bunch, PhD; Delesha Carpenter, PhD, MSPH, Carolyn Thorpe, PhD, MPH and Joyce Kullman, Executive Director, the Vasculitis Foundation

Oral Presentations

Top row, from left: Ron Falk, MD; Donna Bunch, PhD; Jiajin Yang, MD
Middle row, from left: Britta Jones, PhD Candidate; William Pendergraft III, MD, PhD; Rennie Rhee, MD
Bottom row, from left: Dimitrios Chanouzas, MD; Sofia Lionaki, MD; Charles Pusey, MD

From left: Britta Jones and Dominic Ciavatta, PhD; Peiqi Hu, MD, Hong Xiao, MD, Olivier Lardinois, PhD, Dominic Ciavatta, PhD, Jiajin Yang, MD, Minghui Zhao, MD, PhD (Chief, Division of Nephrology, The First Hospital, Peking University, P.R. China); Dimitrios Chanouzas, MD and Lorraine Harper, MD