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From Greece, with Research: 39th Annual Histiocyte Society Meeting

Every year, the Histiocyte Society, a partner organization of ours, meets in a new location to share research and celebrate the achievements many researchers have made throughout the year in histiocytosis research.

This year the meeting was held in Athens, as it is every 5 years, per a partnership with the Histio Hellas organization.

I was there again this year help to organize it with Secretariat Kathy Wisinewski and Director of Community Relations Kristen Nessensohn.

So far this past month we have shared the progress and reception of the International Patient Advocacy Group sessions at the annual meeting this year. Now, we want to run through some of the key takeaways from research and those doing the research. Starting with a summary from the current Histiocyte Society President, Dr. Kim Nichols. Take it away Kim.

A Word From the Histiocyte Society President

This year’s meeting was successful thanks to all who participated in-person and via the online platform. I am pleased to announce that year’s attendance broke past records with 277 registrants and 138 accepted abstracts! As with last year’s meeting, there was a strong feeling of enthusiasm as providers, researchers and family groups connected and learned about the latest advances in the field.

This year’s meeting was opened by Dr. Jonathan Kipnis from Washington University in St. Louis, who gave a truly amazing presentation on how the immune system interacts with and influences brain functions, including behaviors, and physical and cognitive abilities. It is interesting to extrapolate from the findings of Dr. Kipnis and his research team as we search to understand the basis of neurodegeneration in Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH).Throughout the meeting, we were exposed to interesting topics spanning from novel mechanisms of disease to development of innovative treatment approaches and improved diagnostic and prognostic markers for patients with LCH, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, and the rarer non-LCH histiocytic disorders. It was also very exciting to see the growing number and interest of young investigators who are joining the field. These individuals represent the future of the Society, and we welcome their bright minds and boundless energy to our team.

Finally, I thank everyone who prepared talks and participated the various sessions as these provided wonderful opportunities for meeting attendees to learn and debate about how best to diagnose and treat the histiocytic disorders and to improve the outcomes for affected individuals around the world. I also gratefully acknowledge, the Kontoyannis family, Histio Hellas organization, Histiocytosis Association, and Histiocyte Society Programming Committee. Without your tremendous effort and support, this meeting would not have been possible.

Please enjoy some photos and highlights below compiled by Kathy Wisniewski.

39th Annual Histiocyte Society Meeting Recap

On Monday morning, the first day, we started right off with the opening ceremonies by Kim Nichols followed immediately by a fantastic virtual presentation by Dr. Jonathan Kipnis entitled “New mechanistic insights into CNS immune privilege,” followed by the HLH Symposium: Cutting and Pasting: Gene Therapy Approaches for Primary HLH. This session included a virtual presentation by Claire Booth as well as additional presentations by Shengdar Tsai and Toni Cathomen. After lunch we dove right into abstract presentations including the Presidential Symposium which featured the highest ranked abstracts in both clinical and basic science.

The next morning was kicked off by the Jon Pritchard Lecture on the Nikolas Symposium, which was presented by Astrid van Halteren. Following this session, we heard an excellent symposium on Hitting the Target: Signaling Pathways Gone Awry in Histiocytosis , including a virtual presentations by Gaurav Goyal followed by a tag-team presentation by Mimi Bandopadhayay and Carl Allen.

Amongst all of the proceedings, we have some exciting announcements that were made. The first is that we have a new President-Elect Vasanta Nanduri. She started her 2-year term as President-Elect, before she starts her 3-year term as President in 2025. Then, our 2023 Nesbit award in Clinical Science was bestowed upon Eli Diamond and the Nezelof award for basic science was presented to Junior Investigator Lauren Meyer and finally Susana Garcia-Obregon was awarded the Arceci prize for the best poster.

Finally, the 2024 location for the 40th (!) Annual meeting of the Histiocyte Society has been announced as Goa, India! We look forward to seeing all of this year’s physicians, and many new ones, there.

Thank you again to Kathy and Dr. Kim Nichols for keeping us caught up for the 39th Annual Histiocyte Society Meeting. We are so excited about all of the new and developing research shared at the conference!