We are here live at the Sixth BHD Symposium and First Upstate Kidney Cancer Symposium, at the Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. Upstate Medical University has an esteemed record in medical research and continues to focus on major healthcare challenges. The city of Syracuse also offers a beautiful and friendly backdrop to the Symposium.
The Symposium began on Wednesday evening, when attendees met for a cocktail reception in the Tiffany Ballroom of the Genesse Grande Hotel. The reception gave everyone the chance to meet and catch up before the scientific sessions started on Thursday.
After an introduction by one the co-chairs of the scientific organising committee, Dr Mehdi Mollapour, the Thursday morning session began with a keynote speech from Dr W. Marston Linehan of the National Cancer Institute at the NIH. Dr Linehan gave a comprehensive overview of the Genetic Basis of Kidney Cancer. The second co-chair Professor Gennady Bratslavsky presented Dr Linehan with an engraved crystal obelisk to thank him for opening the conference and to acknowledge his contributions to the field.
The rest of Thursday’s talks were focused on the scientific understanding of BHD and renal cancer. There were too many presentations to cover here so look out for the Symposium summaries that will be published shortly. The day ended with a poster session sponsored by Faculty of 1000, where Adam Price – an undergraduate from Dr Maria Czyzyk-Krzeska’s lab – was awarded the Best Poster prize for their work on “VHL and FLCN kidney tumour suppressors are positive regulators of autophagic program targeting midbodies for lysosomal degradation”. Second prize was awarded to Dr Damir Khabibullin and third prize to Diana Dunn. This was followed by dinner which provided more opportunities for networking and discussions.
There are many more talks to come today, these with a focus on the clinical aspects of BHD and kidney cancer. The second keynote speech from urology surgeon Dr Robert Uzzo of the Fox Chase Cancer Centre, will provide an update on the management strategies for renal cell carcinoma.
After these talks the attendees are being treated with a visit to a local winery and dinner at the Belhurst Castle, Geneva. This stone mansion was built on the shores of the Seneca Lake in 1888 during the Romanesque Rivivial. It has a interesting history having been used as a speakeasy and casino during the prohibition, followed by becoming a restaurant before being converted into a hotel.
To end the conference on Saturday morning there will be a patient-focused session led by genetic counsellors Lindsay Middelton and Bonnie Braddock. Here patients will have the opportunity to discuss their condition with clinical experts. A full report from this session will also be posted in the coming weeks.