1st European Symposium on Myeloid Regulatory Cells in Health and Disease
Cancer therapy and the treatment of immunological diseases – international exchange on myeloid cells advances research
The 1st European Symposium on Myeloid Regulatory Cells (MRC) in Health and Disease was held at the University Hospital in Essen, Germany from 1-3 November 2018. The symposium was co-hosted by the COST Action BM1404 Mye-EUNITER (www.mye-euniter.eu). The Mye-EUNITER network was formed in 2014 to bring together myeloid cell researchers from cell type-specific and disease-specific communities.
Around 170 participants, including researchers of the MRC research community, molecular biologists, immunologists, translational and clinical scientists from 23 different countries came together to share the most recent developments in their field in excellent presentations and lively discussions.
The clear focus of the conference was met with high resonance amongst the participants as, for the first time in Europe, the emphasis was placed on myeloid regulatory cells (MRC). These cells are a special cell type of the human immune system offering a high potential for immunotherapy and cancer treatment.
A healthy immune system is in equilibrium and protects the host from pathogens and malignant cells. In diseases like infections, inflammation and cancer this balance is disrupted. MRCs are a sub-group of white blood cells which can contribute to this imbalance. Scientific research is investigating these pathogenic functions and accordingly trying to discover therapeutic methods for strengthening the immune system.
With the aim of sharing recent results in international research and improving scientific progress in this area of expertise, the symposium was initiated with Prof. Dr. Sven Brandau as the head of the scientific committee. Sven Brandau is, aside from being the head of the Experimental and Translational Research Division at the University Hospital Essen, also the scientific chair of the European network COST Action BM140 Mye-EUNITER. The members of this network are striving to establish common protocols for MRC immune cells for use in pan-European studies.
The symposium’s programme was manifold, including insightful talks, interesting poster presentations, and a delightfully animated round table discussion about the precise role of myeloid regulatory cells in diseases. Numerous scientists of renown actively participated, with some keynote highlights such as Dmitry Gabrilovich, Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg, both USA, and Paul Kubes from Canada as well as Mihai Netea from The Netherlands.
The poster jury awarded the four best posters of the poster session with a poster prize and each prize-winner gave a short presentation. These were Pieter Louwe (Edinburgh/United Kingdom), Sara Costa (Verona/Italy), Oana-Diana Persa (Cologne/Germany) and Utku Horzum (Ankara/Turkey).
The symposium was financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Kulturstiftung Essen. Co-host was COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Association which is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union.
Heraklion ECI Workshop and MC/WG Meeting
The summary assessment of Mye-EUNITER's progress as submitted by the COST Rapporteur reads as follows:
Despite their pathophysiological importance, the identity and biology of the so called myeloid regulatory cells (MRCs) is poorly understood. Depending on the MRC subtype and the respective disease, conflicting results have been published. The Action Mye-EUNITER forms a network of researchers and clinicians which aims to establish a gold standard of common protocols and harmonising guidelines for the analysis and clinical monitoring of MRCs. There is also a deficit in the translation of findings from animal models to humans, and Mye-EUNITER is building an analytical mouse-monkey-man correlation line. Standardised and validated tools for MRC analysis will aid the development of cellular biomarkers of disease and guide the design of novel therapies to manipulate the functions of MRCs. The Action is making excellent progress in the following topics: 1) achieving the objectives, deliverables, publications and additional output; 2) proving added value of networking; 3) achieving significant impact; and 4) exploitation and dissemination of the results.
Brno ECI Workshop and MC/WG Meeting
23.01.2017 - University of Duisburg-Essen
A Milestone for COST Action on Regulatory Immune Cells
The immune system protects us from many harmful and life-threatening infections. However, under certain conditions, immune cells can also foster the development of disease. This is for example the case in many types of cancer, chronic infection and inflammation.
Immunologists around the world have been focusing their endeavours increasingly on better understanding how a specialized cellular subset, known as myeloid regulatory cells, contributes towards disease progression and pathogenesis. However, a lack of consensus on markers, protocols and analytical methods has made it extremely difficult to study and compare the function of these cells in different diseases and experimental models.
After two years of close collaboration with experts and laboratories around Europe, the COST Action BM1404 - European Network of Investigators Triggering Exploratory Research on Myeloid Regulatory Cells (Mye-EUNITER) - has successfully initiated a European-wide study for monitoring an important myeloid subset, termed MDSC, in the peripheral blood of patients with malignant, inflammatory and infectious diseases. A standardized and harmonized analytical method is now being applied to samples at the participating research centres to generate the first truly comparative database of these cells in various human diseases.
“To the best of our knowledge this step is the first harmonized and standardized MDSC analysis initiative world-wide,” says Prof. Sven Brandau, the Action’s Chair and head of the host laboratory at the University Hospital Essen, Germany. “What is exciting about this new procedure is that very soon we will be able to accurately compare the features of myeloid cells in illnesses as diverse as for example breast or skin cancer, HIV or hepatitis infections, or inflammation induced by Psoriasis or cardiovascular disease. This knowledge is implicit for then developing ways of turning the detrimental regulatory function of myeloid cells into a promising therapeutic tool to treat these very same diseases.”
During 2017 Mye-EUNITER aims to establish similar standard operating procedures for other subsets of myeloid regulatory cells in human, murine and simian models with the goal of building an analytical correlation line. This would greatly enable the swifter translation of basic research into clinical application.
The Mye-EUNITER network includes member scientists from Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom.
11-13.04.2016 - Karolinska Institute Stockholm
Stockholm ECI Workshop and MC/WG Meeting
This COST BM1404 Mye-EUNITER meeting was hosted in Sweden by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The meeting brought together around 100 young and established scientists working on myeloid regulatory cells. Early career investigators (ECI) participated in a Mye-EUNITER workshop focussed on theoretical and practical aspects of myeloid regulatory cells. The ECI Workshop included very informative presentations from Mye-EUNITER members focussing on macrophages and macrophage suppressor cells (Jo van Ginderachter, Vrije Universiteit Brussel), the phenotypes and function of macrophages (Luca Cassetta, University of Edinburgh), human mucosal dendritic cells (Espen Baekkevold, Oslo University Hospital,) neutrophil subsets (Elzbieta Kolaczkowska, Jagiellonian University), myeloid derived suppressor and cancer immunotherapy (Rolf Kiessling, Karolinska Institutet), myeloid regulatory cells in viral infections (Ulf Dittmer, Universitätsklinikum Essen), myeloid regulatory cells in cancer (Gosse Adema, Radboud UMC) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the tumour microenvironment (Viktor Umansky, German Cancer Research Centre). Participants in the ECI workshop also had the opportunity to present the outcomes of their discussion on various aspects of myeloid regulatory function and their role in disease, as well as the outstanding challenges to defining different myeloid regulatory cell subsets to Mye-EUNITER working group members.
The Mye-EUNITER Working Group meeting was held in parallel to the ECI Workshop. In these sessions the individual working groups reported the progress on specific activities agreed following the previous Working Group meeting in Krakow including new data generated during Short Term Scientific Missions.
“It was a great pleasure to host my colleagues and friends in the Mye-EUNITER network in Stockholm," said Karin Loré, the local Karolinska Institute host. "The ECI workshop turned out very successfully due to the enthusiastic course participants and a fantastic team effort by members in the network who gave lectures.”
14-16.09.2015 - Jagiellonian University Kraków
European Conference and Workshop for Young Myeloid Cell Researchers
Myeloid cells, including dendritic cells, monocytes, macrophages and neutrophils, each exhibit broad phenotypic and functional plasticity. Since the heterogeneity of these cells is likely to play a key role in variety of diseases, a better knowledge of myeloid cell biology would benefit human health. The goal of this COST Mye-EUNITER meeting was to facilitate the understanding of the regulatory functions of the different myeloid cell types in host physiology and pathology - including cancer, inflammatory and infectious diseases. Hosted in Poland by the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, the event brought together around 100 young and established scientists working on all these subsets of myeloid regulatory cells.
The conference was split into parallel and joint sessions, starting with a poster session for the young researchers, while the more experienced researchers met up for Working Group activities focusing on data-sharing and achieving Action goals. Further items on the agenda designed for the new-generation scientists included workshops by industrial partners on flow cytometry cell sorting (BD Germany), multicolour analysis (BD Poland) and regulatory myeloid cells phenotyping (eBioscience Austria), and round table discussions on confocal and intravital imaging of myeloid cell subsets and flow cytometry in studies of myeloid cell diversity.
On the last morning of the conference, the top five poster presenters were invited to hold 20 minute talks about their work. The winners, selected by an international panel of experts, were Janusz Ligęza (PL), Karine Serre (PT), Mateusz Tomczyk (PL), Ana Cardosa (PT) and Jonathan Matalonga (ES).
During the joint sessions participants could benefit from talks given by experts in the field. Visiting keynote speakers included Siamon Gordon (University of Oxford, UK), Frederic Geissmann (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, US), Ajay Chawla (University of California San Francisco, US), Craig N Jenne (University of Calgary, CA) and Allan Mowat (University of Glasgow, UK). Mye-EUNITER keynote speakers were Sven Brandau (University of Duisburg-Essen, DE), Gosse Adema (Radboud University Nijmegen, NL), Antonio Celada (University of Barcelona, ES) Kingston Mills (Trinity College Dublin, IE) and Elżbieta Kołaczkowska (Jagiellonian University, Kraków, PL).
“It was a great pleasure to host so many participants at the COST meeting in Krakow,” declared Jarek Baran, one of the hosts and Mye-EUNITER’s Early Stage Researcher Coordinator. “We believe that the event was a stimulating experience for all present, and that it created the grounds for valuable scientific discussions and collaborations.”
“We are pleased that the participants found this conference and workshop interesting in many aspects and are delighted to establish that it has inspired invigorating new research ideas,” added the co-host, Joanna Cichy. Further information
Mye-EUNITER conference participants in the Jagiellonain University building, Auditorium Maximum
25-26.03.2015 – University of Barcelona
Initial Road Map for Myeloid Cell Research in Europe
Immense headway was made at the COST Action BM1404’s first two-day Management Committee/Working Group Meeting which was held at the School of Biology, University of Barcelona, Spain, at the end of March 2015. Most significantly, European scientific consensus was reached on which myeloid cell types in which diseases and species would be the focus of Mye-EUNITER network’s research during phase one of the four-year Action. The meeting was well attended with representatives from nearly all the 24 member states.
One of the main instruments to further exchange between the key laboratories of this Action will be Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM), allowing young scientists to conduct specified myeloid research at partner institutions thus promoting a European-wide expertise in this field. The STSMs are scheduled to start in summer 2015.
“It has been a great pleasure to host the first scientific meeting of this Action. All the participants have shown a lot of enthusiasm and important decisions have already been taken at this meeting. Some of the working groups went home with a list of homework,” stated Annabel Valledor, host of the Barcelona meeting.
. Mye-EUNITER members at the South entrance of the old “Güell Villa”, where the School of Biology stands nowadays. Built in 1884 by Antoni Gaudí.
20.05.2014 - University of Duiburg-Essen
Mye-EUNITER: European COST Action on Immune Regulation
In a healthy person the immune system is perfectly balanced to provide protection against invading harmful pathogens or malignant cells, while maintaining a state of unresponsiveness (‘tolerance’) to our own body tissues and to the harmless substances we eat or inhale. However, in major diseases such as infections (e.g. AIDS), inflammation (e.g. arthritis) and cancer (e.g. skin cancer, leukaemia), a pathological disbalance in this immune homeostasis occurs.
The latest developments in basic and clinical research have suggested that myeloid regulatory cells contribute to this pathological immune disbalance. Myeloid regulatory cells are a specialised subset of white blood cells, which include granulocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and acquire immunoregulatory and/or immunosuppressive activity as a consequence of the disease of the host. Unfortunately, the dysfunction of these cells is still poorly understood. The reason for this is that, worldwide, myeloid regulatory cells have been researched using vastly different methods and markers. The new COST Action Mye-EUNITER, short for “European Network of Investigators Triggering Exploratory Research on Myeloid Regulatory Cells,” aims to establish technical standards for the characterisation and analysis of these cells.
“These standardised and validated tools will aid the development of cellular biomarkers of disease and guide the design of novel therapies to manipulate the functions of these cells,” hopes Sven Brandau, an immunologist at the University of Duisburg-Essen and Vice-Chair of BIOME Graduate School who is spearheading the Action. Mye-EUNITER includes member scientists from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The network also has collaborative partners in USA.
A further innovative aspect of Mye-EUNITER is that it strongly fosters the exchange of young scientists between institutions and laboratories within Europe by organising early stage researcher symposia, workshops, training schools and short-term scientific missions. “The symbiotic investment in long-term international interdisciplinary scientific exchange between biomedical research centres within Europe has always been one of BIOME’s main aims since its establishment in 2010,” adds Delia Cosgrove, Coordinator of UDE’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science, “and now we are particularly delighted through this COST Action to be in a position to offer specialised training to some of our PhD students.”
The Mye-EUNITER concept stems from an IRUN biomedical initiative which held meetings in Duisburg-Essen (2011), Münster (2012) and Nijmegen (2013).
27-28.05.2013 - Radboud University Nijmegen
European Workshop on Immune Integrity (IRUN)
As part of the IRUN biomedical strategy to promote our network’s universities, graduate schools and medical centres in Europe, RIMLS organised an international workshop on Immune Integrity, a survival kit for PhD students. This interactive and hands-on workshop involved over 35 PhD students and more than 15 group leaders from 6 different countries.
The Immune Integrity workshop was held on Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th May 2013 and is the third in a series highlighting the growing nature of the network. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive: everyone really loved the interactive and hands-on concept of the workshop. The students wanted to know why they hadn't heard of this meeting before! The group photo below clearly summarizes the atmosphere.
The students and their PIs came from various universities within the International Research Universities Network (IRUN): the University of Münster (Germany), University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), University of Barcelona (Spain), University of Glasgow (Scotland), Jagiellonian University Kraków (Poland) and of course Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands). Christian Münz (University of Zurich, Switzerland) was a specially invited speaker for the workshop.
René Bindels, scientific director of the RIMLS opened the program on Monday. The PIs introduced themselves and in small subgroups participated in roundtable discussions. In parallel, the PhDs participated in a speed-date session to see if there was a scientific match. In the afternoon, there was also a poster-slam where the PhDs could present their posters in small groups. At the end of the first day there was time for bowling and dinner. Day two gave the PhD students opportunity to get hands-on experience from a choice of workshops: multiphoton microscopy, flow cytometry and genomics. In parallel there was brainstorm session with the group leaders to discuss future collaborative projects and joint grant applications. During these two days, four invited speakers from the Universities of Barcelona, Glasgow, Kraków and Zurich gave inspiring lectures on their recent scientific research.
At the end of the meeting four poster prizes were awarded to: Ellen van den Bogaard, Lotte de Winde, Lorena Valverde Estrella, Maria Göbel.
The next meeting is being planned at another European destination in 2014.
(Courtesy of RIMLS)
27-28.04.2012 - University of Münster
Bios for IRUN: European Collaboration on Immune Integrity
From 27-28 April 2012 European biomedical researchers held an IRUN strategy meeting in Münster, Germany. The two-day event, hosted by Stephan Ludwig, Vice Rector of the University of Münster and an internationally recognised influenza virologist, also included fellow founding partners of this research initiative from the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS), Radboud University Nijmegen and the Graduate School of Biomedical Science (BIOME), University of Duisburg-Essen. Not only was international consensus reached on the clear structure, themes and goals of the forthcoming scientific symposium on immune integrity which is to be held in Nijmegen in May 2013, but also the groundwork for a joint research proposal at the European Union level was decisively laid.
After initially exploring each university’s innovative research landscape and doctoral training programmes, participants at this meeting were better able to understand their partners’ aims and the challenges currently facing them. This led to deeper insight into finding ways of how best to proceed with the establishment of a mutual collaboration. “We want to breathe life into the IRUN network with common approaches to research in specialised, well-defined areas,” said Stephan Ludwig, who was very pleased with the outcome of the talks.
The initiative stems from the successful IRUN Symposium on Immune Recognition of Pathogens and Tumours hosted by BIOME together with RIMLS in the Duisburg-Essen area in October last year. “We discovered that most IRUN partners have similar large research centres with fascinating thematic overlap and parallel graduate structures,” explained Delia Cosgrove, BIOME’s general coordinator, “and we envisaged realising a closer exchange between them on both the principal investigator and doctorate levels.” “It made sense to draw on IRUN as an advantageous basis for building a life science network,” added Sven Brandau, co-chairman, BIOME.
Collaborating scientists at Nijmegen are in agreement. “Together we have paved out a path towards strengthening cross-border Dutch-German collaborations in infection, immunity and immune regulation. RIMLS is delighted to be able to host the next symposium on immune integrity in May 2013, a valuable step in furthering our European ambitions,” stated Adrian Cohen, RIMLS’s scientific manager.
To date, significant interest in this venture has also been expressed by colleagues at the University of Glasgow, Jagiellonian University in Krakow and the University of Barcelona. It is hoped, in time, to include further affiliated IRUN centres as well.
Photo: WWU Press
20-21.10.2011 - University of Duisburg-Essen
IRUN Symposium on Immune Recognition of Pathogens and Tumours
BIOME hosted a pilot biomedical IRUN symposium which was held in October 2011 in the Ruhr Metropolis. The initiative was a collaboration between the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS), Radboud University Nijmegen and BIOME. Also participating in this endeavour were IRUN partner keynote speakers from the Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre, University of Glasgow as well as from the Center for Molecular Biology of Inflammation at the University of Münster.
The event was a great success as the participants came to realise that colleagues at affiliated institutions are working on similar problems but are using fascinatingly different approaches to try to solve them. During the course of the two days a growing awareness of possible reciprocally beneficial collaborations emerged as a stimulating and promising concept. Thus, a new tradition of lively, mutual scientific exchange and dialogue between the strong life science research centres and graduate schools within IRUN has been born and it is planned to follow this up with regular symposia every two years to be hosted at a different IRUN location each time.