The only global meeting to concentrate on aspergillosis happened at the Manchester Central Convention Complex. The 7th Advances Against Aspergillosis (7th AAA) ran from 3rd March to 5th March and hosted over 350 scientists and doctors from all parts of the world who have a special interest in how we are going to identify and treat people with aspergillosis, identify those at risk and work out the mechanisms of infection.
As Advances Against Aspergillosis has become the leading global meeting for basic and clinical science regarding Aspergillus, its efforts form one of the foundations of the repository of knowledge about this pathogen; 229 papers have been published in 7 Supplements, comprising 1,739 pages of full papers, as well as 1,061 abstracts from the meetings.
Uniquely 7th AAA also hosts a group of patients & carers who listen to talks for visiting experts talk and who can ask questions
A Twitter 'conversation' (#7thAAA) ran throughout the conference (see panel on the right) and gives us some idea of the meeting through the eyes of its participants.
This year we have been able to record a flavour of the meeting in the form of video summaries by a moderator of each session, but to start our presentation off, David Stevens (one of the three people who conceived the meeting along with David Denning and William Steinback) describes how they formulated the meeting to promote professional collaboration.
Day One, Thursday 3rd March
- Awareness: BBC1 national news program BBC Breakfast featured aspergillus and aspergillosis this morning (audience 1.5 million nationwide - the top morning news program in the UK) together with at least two BBC local radio stations (approx 400 000 listeners).
Session 1: How Aspergillus turns from Trivial Coloniser into a pathogen.
Moderated by Jean-Paul Latge PhD and Dimitros Kontoyiannis MD ScD FACP FIDSA
Session 2: Airways and Aspergillus Sensitization.
Moderated by Dr Elaine Bignell PhD and Mark Nicolls MD
Session 3: Therapy.
Moderated by William Steinbach MD and Eavan Muldoon MBBCh MD PhD
Session 4: Basilea Satellite Symposium. Moderated by Professor David Denning FMedSc
- Awareness: BBC1 North West Today mentioned 7th AAA at 1pm (Midday local news program audience 350 000)
Patient & Carer Meeting. Hosted by Graham Atherton PhD and Chris Harris
Introduction to the Patient's Meeting
Graham Atherton explains why the meeting that normally happens every month at the National Aspergillosis Centre has moved to 7th AAA this month.
Chris Harris (National Aspergillosis Centre Manager) talks about why we hold a meeting for patients and why we thought coming to 7th AAA was an important opportunity for our patients groups.
The patient meeting had four experts attending from the main conference and two from external patients's support charities, each introducing themselves to the patients & carers and then fielding questions from the audience.
Expert 1: Ritesh Agalwal MD DM commenting on the question 'Are allergic rhinosinusitis and ABPA lifelong conditions?'
Expert 2: Richard Moss MD commenting on fungal sensitisation and allergic aspergillosis in childhood
Expert 3: Darius Armstrong-James FRCP MSc PhD DipMedMycol commenting on the setting up of an National Aspergillosis Centre satellite clinic in London
Expert 4: Stuart Levitz MD commenting on advances in fungal vaccines
Expert 5: Jeanette Boyd summarised the patient supporting activities of the European Lung Foundation
Expert 6: Vicky Barbour talked to the group about the activities of the British Lung Foundation
- Awareness: BBC1 North West Tonight (Local BBC network program audience 700 000 in north west England) presented an article on aspergillosis and 7th AAA led by Professor Denning and aspergillosis patient Ann Saunders.
Day Two, Friday 4th March
After starting the day with a special session featuring six papers of great interest. Heavy snow in Manchester this morning impacted on the audience for this early start but numbers soon built up.
Awareness: Professor Denning and aspergillosis patient Ann Saunders appeared 'on the red sofa' at peak time on BBC1 Breakfast program (1.5 million viewers nationwide) for an extended feature on aspergillosis and 7th AAA conference
Session 5: Host Response.
Moderated by Stuart Levitz MD and Robert Cramer PhD
Session 6: Diagnostics. Moderated by David Perlin PhD and Johan Maertens MD PhD
Day Three, Saturday March 5th
The final day began with a special 'Meet the Professor' session covering several difficult cases of invasive mycoses in parallel with a session on 'Lipid rafts and epigenetics'. We then returned to the main themes of the meeting.
Session 7: Resistance.
Moderated by Thomas Walsh MD and Donald Sheppard MD
Session 8: Aspergillus and Disease Establishment.
Moderated by Karl Clemons PhD and Thomas Patterson MD
Session 9: Genetics.
Moderated by Stephane Bretagne MD PhD and Praveen Juvvadi PhD
Session 10: Looking into the Future.
Moderated by Malcolm Richardson PhD and Axel Brakhage PhD
Overview of the meeting