Education Working Party
Report from the ESID Summer School - Portugal, September 2001
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The European Society for Immunodeficiencies held the 3rd ESID Summer School for teaching and training young clinicians and scientists in primary immunodeficiencies in September this year. This residential Summer School was held between September 21st to 25th 2001 in Sesimbra in Portugal, just south of Lisbon – a delightful small village as yet unspoilt by tourism. In contrast to last year, the weather was fantastic but once again we worked in a windowless room and were unaware of the delights of the beach or the village until the coffee breaks! However no one complained and we did enjoy the free afternoon.
This year the topics for the Summer School concentrated on
• Catch 22 and gene deletions
• IgA and IgG subclass deficiencies & Ig therapies
• SCID and bone marrow transplantation.
As before, the clinical sessions were based on real cases, and discussion of laboratory investigations included data handling. A session each day was devoted to the basic science of the conditions discussed later. The timetable was arranged to give maximum time for discussion (including in the bar and over meals). All participants presented cases of interest to the group; these covered a wide range and were most useful, provoking excellent discussion by participants and faculty members (and some arguments too).
There were 7 faculty members: Wilhelm Friedrich, Anders Fasth, Bobby Gaspar, Helen Chapel, Luigi Notarangelo and Hermann Wolf. Our invited speaker was David Wilson who entertained and educated us all on the significance and science of gene deletions, particularly in relation to chromosome 22. There were 23 participants: clinical immunologists, paediatricians, other physicians and 3 scientists committed to primary immunodeficiency diseases.
Sponsorship was kindly provided once more by Octapharma (Vienna), CSL Bioplasma (Australia), Novartis (Basle), Baxter Healthcare (Los Angeles), ZLB (Basle) and Bayer (Germany). Three bursaries for travel from Europe were awarded competitively.
The arrangements for 2002 will be different as the Summer School will be replaced by an Education Day immediately preceeding the biennial meeting in Weimar. The Summer School may resume in the autumn of 2003. Those interested in attending either should look at the ESID web site (www.esid.org). Also at this site are reports from 2 of this year’s participants.
Reports from two participants in 2001
ESID Summer School 2001 – from Marianne Empson from NZ
(who travelled despite being halfway through her pregnancy - hence her comments!)
• Was it worth travelling half way around the world for the ESID summer school?
Definitely, the airline hospitality and airport lounges were well worth the trip, AND the course was excellent!! It was great to meet and hear the wisdom of the leaders in the field of immunodeficiency. All the reading in the world cannot replace the pearls of wisdom picked up from clinicians who see and have seen many more patients than I could ever hope to.
• Were your expectations of the course met?
I had a real desire to learn more about SCID and disorders primarily presenting in childhood as I had minimal exposure to these as an adult physician. The depth of coverage of these conditions was excellent and was reinforced by the case presentations from other attendees. In addition I was anxious to see whether our management and assessment of common variable immunodeficiency differed from that in the Northern Hemisphere. I was reassured to see that general principles were very similar although we use less subcutaneous immunoglobulin therapy.
• Was it all work and no play?
Definitely not. There was plenty of opportunity to socialise with people from a range of primarily European countries over meals, breaks etc. This part was very valuable in providing contacts for future discussion. In addition the setting was quite idyllic, and the afternoon off, a godsend in an otherwise busy timetable, allowed exploration of the surroundings.
• Any final words?
I would like to thank ESID, the faculty members and the sponsors for providing such a wonderfully educational and accessible forum covering these complex diseases. I would also like to thank CSL who provided me with additional support in view of my “delicate” state.
ESID summer school - a scientist’s view from Berne Ferry
• This was an excellent meeting on immunodeficiency. I learned a great deal about major immunodeficiency states from experts in the field. The talks were informative, detailed and very wide ranging. There was plenty of time to take in what was being taught and the fact that the speakers were available throughout the whole course to chat to was incredibly useful. The informality of the surroundings made it easy to ask those "silly questions" that one is often too shy to ask but the answer to which often turns out to be really important to know.
• Meeting other immunologists from around the world was really great fun and very stimulating. We have all exchanged e mail addresses which is a great basis for future international communication. Sesimbra was a good choice of venue, Portugal is quite easy to get to, the portuguese were lovely, the weather was warm and sunny, the food was OK and we were well looked after by the organisers.
• I would highly recommend this course. It was intensive, but very enjoyable and worthwhile.