HSG 2016

Highlights of HSG 2016: Discovering Our Future

The Huntington Study Group held its 23rd Annual Meeting and 10th Annual Clinical Research Symposium November 2-5, in Nashville, TN.

By: Molly J. Elson, BA

HSG 2016 brought together world-renowned clinicians, scientists, coordinators, and community members united by a common passion for improving therapies for HD. Together over the course of several days in November, members gathered to celebrate achievements, explore new therapies, and welcome a new generation of scientists and families into the community. The theme of the conference chaired by Drs. Ray Dorsey and Blair Leavitt was “Progress in HD research and care.” Keynote presentations, interactive working group sessions, and educational courses explored novel therapeutic interventions and emerging models of care. Other members of the HD community joined on the meeting’s final day.

Photo: Researchers presented their findings at the research symposium.

The open sessions began on Wednesday, November 2 with a discussion of the merits of the modified UHDRS as an efficacy endpoint. Results from two major prospective cohort studies (TRACK-HD and COHORT) and clinical trials (CARE-HD) were used as examples. Panels brought together nonprofits, academia, and the pharmaceutical industry to discuss progress in capturing clinically meaningful data and optimizing trial efficiency. “HD Insights of the Year,” an open session exploring breakthrough papers, brought researchers from Harvard, King’s College London, and CHA University in South Korea to the table. Drs. Jong-Min Lee and Flavia Niccolini presented their research into genetic modifiers of time to clinical onset, and pre-symptomatic biomarkers. Similarly, Dr. Jihwan Song posited that mHTT propagates in a prion-like manner. Veteran project manager, Ms. Elise Kayson, led a forum looking back on the results of PHAROS and PREDICT and what individuals at risk for HD can learn. Later, Dr. Martha Nance led a session in which the audience was invited to bring their most challenging cases for group discussion. Ethical dilemmas discussed included how to give genetic testing results to a parent who wished their underage child to be present, and the importance of maintaining contact with research participants post-study.

Photo: Dr. David Oakes received a well-deserved award from Drs. Ray Dorsey and Ira Shoulson in appreciation of his years of service.

A warm reception concluded the second day of activities. Drs. Ira Shoulson and Ray Dorsey presented well-deserved awards to Dr. David Oakes, Dr. Jody Corey-Bloom, Ms. Paula Wasserman, and Ms. Elise Kayson.

The “Digital Biomarkers for HD” panel, chaired by Dr. Ralf Reilmann, stood out for its presentation of some of the most promising technologies scientists are bringing to HD research. Drs. Max Little, Larsson Omberg, Spyros Papetropoulos, and Guarav Sharma described their development of novel objective motor assessments using tools such as Apple’s ResearchKit and MC10’s wearable sensors. Dr. Dorsey’s “Progress and directions” lunch laid out a five-year plan with concrete, achievable objectives to make HD a treatable condition. He recognized key accomplishments in recent HSG trials, and challenged researchers to embrace novel technologies and revolutionize clinical trial conduct.

Dr. Bob Beall, former president and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), gave the HSG 2016 keynote address, “Lessons learned from cystic fibrosis.” Dr. Beall transformed care and research for cystic fibrosis by raising money to identify genes responsible for the condition, partnering with the pharmaceutical industry, and establishing a network of care centers to increase trial efficiency. His leadership helped to increase the average life expectancy of cystic fibrosis patients from 18 years to 41 years. Dr. Beall challenged HSG to leverage CFF’s successful strategies towards HSG’s own goals.

The 10th annual HD Research Symposium opened the final day of the conference with an education panel, “Regulatory path for development of medical devices and drugs.” Members of the FDA discussed the regulatory pathway through which new therapeutic technologies are evaluated. Dr. Bonnie Hennig led a panel presenting the latest in stem cell research for HD. Attendees left with an appreciation of the challenges faced by stem-cell researchers. When the scientific portion of the conference concluded, Family Education Day began. Families and friends now sat at the tables as Peter Rosenberger shared his story of compassion, hope, and humor as a caregiver. Other talks focused on how to talk about HD as a family, provide palliative care, and test those at risk. The community gathering at the event’s conclusion reinforced the conference’s theme of working together and looking towards the future in order to halt the progression of this disease.

Photo: Everyone gathered for a group photo on Thursday afternoon.

World Experts in HD to Convene in Nashville

HSG 2016 with dateTraining opportunities, family education available at HSG 2016

The Huntington Study Group (HSG), an international, non-profit network of more than 400 researchers and clinicians dedicated to seeking treatments that make a difference for Huntington disease (HD), is hosting its annual forum, HSG 2016: Discovering Our Future, Nov. 2-5 in Nashville for training and education and for presentation of new research findings and treatments to the worldwide community. The event, which is expected to draw over 300 attendees, is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conference Center.

Among the highlights of the event are:

  • UHDRS Symposium, which focuses on a proposed modified Unified Huntington Disease Rating Scale and its use in clinical trials as an efficacy endpoint.
  • HD Innovators Forum, which includes presentations from leading HD industry partners working on developing new HD treatments.
  • CME4HD, a day-long, in-person continuing medical education course for healthcare providers hosted by HSG and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The course will teach providers how to care for and manage individuals with HD. Participants will have the opportunity to earn 8.75 AMA PRA Category 1 CME CreditsTM.
  • Keynote speech by Dr. Bob Beall, former CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, who will talk about how CFF developed its care and research models in a non-profit setting through partnering with families, care providers, researchers, and biotech.
  • HD Research Symposium, highly acclaimed research presentations drawing worldwide recognition.
  • HD Family Education Day, designed for the local HD community and family members. The day starts with hearing about the latest in HD research, followed by interactive workshops and breakout sessions.

Registration costs vary on participation, but HD Family Education Day is free for HD community members. Please visit www.huntingtonstudygroup.org for more information and to register.

For more information:
Heather Hare
(585) 242-0277

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Registration for HSG 2016 is now open

HSG 2016 with dateRegistration for HSG 2016: Discovering Our Future is now open. The annual event will take place Nov. 3 to 5 with a special symposium about using a modified UHDRS for clinical trials on Nov. 2.

Please click here for information about registration, including the funded list. Registration is working a little bit differently this year, so it’s important to read the instructions carefully.

Click here for more information about the event, including agendas for the meeting, CME4HD, and the UHDRS Symposium.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at HSG 2016 in Nashville! It’s been a big year for HD research and we have a lot of catching up to do.

Apply now for a scholarship for HSG 2016

HSG 2016 STDShoulson Scholars

In honor of the Huntington Study Group’s founder, Dr. Ira Shoulson, HSG established the Shoulson Scholar Fund with the goal of growing the next generation of Huntington disease researchers and health care providers.

The fund recognizes outstanding junior investigators with promising futures in Huntington disease research. Awards support recipient travel and attendance of the annual HSG meeting, and cover two nights lodging, travel funding, a travel stipend, and an honorarium.

Applicants must submit a CV or Biosketch, a scientific abstract highlighting their research, a letter of support from a mentor, and a brief application letter (250 words or less), expressing their background and interest in HD and the HSG.

The Shoulson Scholar application is available online.

Not ready yet to publish an abstract? Check out the New Member Scholar program.

New Member Scholars

In an additional effort to encourage individuals wishing to pursue a career in HD research and expand its network of HD professionals, HSG developed the New Member Scholarship program. The program supports first-time attendance of HSG’s annual meeting, including travel and two nights’ lodging.

The scholarships are for individuals interested in furthering their training and education. Applicants must submit a brief application, including letter of support from a mentor, a cover letter outlining interest in HD and becoming an HD investigator and a CV/Biosketch.

The New Member Scholar application is available online.

Other HSG News…
  • Registration for HSG 2016 is coming soon! Remember to mark your calendar for Nov. 3-5 in Nashville.
  • HSG is already accepting abstracts for HSG 2016. Submit yours now.
  • Sponsorship opportunities available for HSG 2016. Check them out here.
  • Does your HSG credentialed research site want a certificate to hang in your clinic? How about a badge to put on your website? Contact Heather Hare, director of Communications & Outreach, to get either — or both! Email heather.hare@hsglimited.org or call (585) 242-0277.
  • HSG will launch an awareness campaign in May, HD Awareness month. To get a sneak peek at videos of your HSG colleagues, check HSG Link, starting in late April. If you haven’t already signed up for HSG Link, you can do so here.

HSG 2016: Call for Abstracts

HSG 016HSG 2016 in Nashville, TN, Nov. 3 to 5, will host multiple poster sessions and platform presentations, to be chosen from submitted abstracts, throughout the conference. Authors are asked to present their posters during these sessions and interact with attendees. A limited number of abstracts will be selected for platform presentations.

Submit an Abstract by Sept. 1

Eligible abstracts may include data that have been presented previously, but please ensure they will still be of public, as well as scientific, interest. Authors will be asked to disclose relationships with funding sources and manufacturers of commercial products discussed in the presentation. Abstracts will be published in Neurotherapeutics, the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics (ASENT), and the presenting author of accepted abstracts will be provided two nights of lodging at the Gaylord Opryland during HSG 2016 in Nashville.

Learn more and submit an abstract…