On the 20th and 21st of October 2017, the FOR 2240 symposium “Innovative concepts in anti-inflammatory and anti(lymph)angiogenic therapies in the eye” took place on the campus of the University of Cologne in the rooms of the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (http://www.cmmc-uni-koeln.de/home).The meeting was co-sponsored by the European Union (EU COST BM1302 “Joining Forces in Corneal Regeneration”; www.biocornea.eu) and was held under the auspices of the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG; www.dog.org).
The goal of this event was to present major findings of the research conducted in the first funding period of the German Research Foundation Research Unit FOR 2240 „Angiogenesis, Lymphangiogenesis and Cellular Immunity in Inflammatory Diseases of the Eye“ and integrate them into an international context. The FOR 2240 research unit is based in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Cologne, and currently has one external project in Munster and two in Erlangen-Nuremberg.
Hosting the event were Prof. Claus Cursiefen, the Speaker of the FOR 2240, and Prof. Thomas Langmann, the Vice Speaker. Together with Prof. Thomas Krieg, the Dean of the Medical Faculty in Cologne, they were especially pleased to welcome Prof. Kari Alitalo of the Wihuri Research Institute at the University of Helsinki in Finland back to Cologne for the symposium. Prof. Alitalo was a Visiting Professor in Cologne in January 2016. Without his foundational research on lymphangiogenesis, there would have been no coherent starting point for several projects in the research unit.
Prof. Cursiefen – in his introduction – pointed out that the FOR 2240 has made great progress in all projects and has already achieved translatable achievements in several key areas of research. Some of these already have reached the status of a patent or are on their way to a clinical trial.
The Dean Prof. Krieg mentioned that the FOR 2240, with its emphasis on age-related diseases of the eye, perfectly fits into the research landscape of the Medical Faculty of Cologne. He also promised to continue to further fully support the FOR 2240, also in the planned extension period.
The invited guest speakers gave presentations in four major focus areas: lymphatics, ocular surface, retina, and melanoma & metastasis. Like Prof. Alitalo, some of the other ten guest speakers have decades of experience. All of them are on track to continue great work that they have started: Prof. Cornelia Halin of the ETH Zurich in Switzerland, Prof. Friedemann Kiefer of the European Institute for Molecular Imaging at the University of Munster, Germany, Prof. David G. Jackson of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, Prof. Jerry Y. Niederkorn of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, USA, Prof. Minas T. Coroneo of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, Prof. Andreas Stahl, University Hospital of Freiburg, Germany, Prof. Daniel R. Saban of Duke University in Durham NC, USA, Prof. Ulrich Kalinke of the TWINCORE Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Germany, Prof. Martine J. Jager of the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, and Prof. Jonathan P. Sleeman of the University of Heidelberg, Germany. The FOR 2240 Principle Investigators who gave presentations included Prof. Claus Cursiefen (Cologne), Prof. Philipp Steven (Cologne), Prof. Thomas Langmann (Cologne), and Dr. Jacobus J. Bosch of the University Hospital of Erlangen, Germany.
The event was attended by over 65 participants from over 11 countries, including China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Social events included a guided tour though the Kolumba Museum and a formal dinner at the Ludwig Museum, both in Cologne.
A detailed list of the presentations is given below:
1. Prof. K. Alitalo: “The High-End of Lymphatics”
2. Prof. C. Halin: “Leukocyte migration through afferent lymphatic vessels”
3. Prof. F. Kiefer: “Morphogenetic mechanisms during lymphatic vessel development and maintenance”
4. Prof. D.G. Jackson: “Lymphatics and LEC-DC interaction”
5. Prof. C. Cursiefen: “Update Corneal lymphatics: good or bad?”
6. Prof. P. Steven: “Novel therapeutic options in dry-eye disease”
7. Prof. J. Y. Niederkorn: “Corneal immunology and transplant rejection with implications to dry eye”
8. Prof. M. T. Coroneo: “Review of Pterygium Surgery and Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia (OSSN) Management”
9. Prof. A. Stahl: “Semaphorin 3F as an anti-angiogenic gate keeper”
10. Prof. D. R. Saban: “A Neuroprotective Specialization for Bona Fide Microglia in Retinal Degeneration Models”
11. Prof. U. Kalinke: “Defence at the brain border”
12. Prof. T. Langmann: “Microglia in retinal degeneration”
13. Prof. M. J. Jager: “Inflammation and genetic evolution of uveal melanoma”
14. Dr. J. J. Bosch: “The role of midkine in survival and therapeutic resistance of uveal melanoma”
15. Prof. J. P. Sleeman: “Small hyaluron oligosaccharide promote metastasis via multiple mechanisms”