The American Thoracic Society (ATS) annual conference has recently concluded, with a number of presentations in the latest research in lung-related diseases and disorders, including pulmonary hypertension (PH). As the longest-running large scale conference for respiratory medicine professionals in the world, the ATS annual conference brings together more than 17,000 attendees from more than 90 countries. ATS 2017 took place in Washington, D.C. from May 19-24, 2017 — the same city that the first conference was held in 1905.
This year’s conference included a debate on controversies in how pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) develops, including the role of autoimmunity in PAH, if PH is driven by cell death or cell proliferation, and the role of hemodynamic stress in PAH. The goal of debates like this is to discuss controversial topics and unknown areas of the disease, hopefully catalyzing new and innovative research in PAH.
A mini-symposia session, consisting of a series of brief oral presentations followed by Q&A, looked at risk assessment in PH based on drug use, toxin exposure and genes. Thematic poster session topics included the cellular contribution to PH, pharmacological treatment of PH, controversies in thromboembolic disease and advances and challenges in transplantation. Data was also presented from the Registry of Sarcoidosis Associated Pulmonary Hypertension (ReSAPH).
Researchers also presented studies based on data from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry (PHAR). The PHAR is a component of PHA’s Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center (PHCC) accreditation program.
A team from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) exhibited at the ATS conference to connect clinicians and researchers with information on early and accurate diagnosis and to promote PHA’s medical education programs. The PHA Medical Education Fund supports three medical education initiatives for clinicians and researchers — PHA Online University, the PHA Preceptorship Program and the PHA Medical Education On-Demand Program — in addition to two patient initiatives — PHA Classroom and PHA on the Road.
On Saturday, PHA and the ATS Public Advisory Roundtable (PAR) invited patients and families to learn about PH treatments and cures. The panel of experts discussed research and research registries, including emerging and ongoing efforts to bring patient voices to clinical trial design and advocating to the FDA. The event concluded with breakout sessions allowing patients and caregivers to talk about PH with lung disease experts.