HEART Conference 2016: EMSA and OncoGen Timisoara Partnership

Timisoara hosted the “HEART – Healthcare, Education and Research Talks” conference, with medical research being the theme chosen by the students of Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara. HEART is an annual event organized by EMSA, where invited speakers are local and international key figures from various medical fields with the aim of teaching and, particularly, inspiring students and young doctors.

OncoGen participated in organizing this event, thanks to good cooperation with medical students of the European Association of Medical Students (EMSA), a cooperation that grew up with the association by attracting students to top-level research. Proving the concept that research has no boundaries, the main guest, who had also been involved in the successful planning and organisation of the conference, was Professor Torsten Tonn of the Faculty of Medicine, Carl Gustav Carus, Technical University of Dresden, and General Director of the North-East Transfusion Medicine Centre of the Red Cross Germany. Professor Tonn is Doctor Honoris Causa of UMFVBT since 2011.

The event elicited a great deal of interest among students, with over 350 participants from traditional medical universities in Romania. Prof. Virgil Paunescu, MD, PhD, Prof. Carmen Panaitescu Bunu, MD, PhD and Assoc. Prof. Florina Bojin delivered talks on behalf of OncoGen and UMFVBT.

The OncoGen team and the students coordinated by Greta Barbulescu organized on April 10, 2016 two interactive workshops in the centre laboratories. The workshops addressed the main goal of the Timisoara HEART conference, to help students develop an innovative view on medical practice and research. Prof. Torsten Tonn and Assoc. Prof. Florina Bojin, MD, PhD, together with the OncoGen team, were the organizers and lecturers of the two workshops.

Workshop 1. Regenerative Medicine – Fountain of Youth?

During the first part of this workshop, the students had had the opportunity to learn about various stem cell types (adult, embryonic, induced stem cells) and their potential in view of clinical applications, but also of risks attributed to different stem cells. In the second part, small groups of students were given the opportunity to apply by themselves a technique, namely to determine the frequency of immune cells and rare stem cells in blood.

Workshop 2. New concepts in the immunologic treatment of cancer

The newest advances in the field of cancer immunotherapy were introduced, including the blockade of the program death ligand pathway (PD-L) by specific antibodies. Moreover, recent preclinical and clinical data on T and NK cells engineered to recognize tumour antigens with specific chimeric antigen receptors (CAR´s) were delivered.