MFF Forum, edition 4

MFF Hosts CTCL Symposium

The Mycosis Fungoides Foundation (MFF) hosted its inaugural cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) Symposium on May 1, 2003 in Miami Beach, Florida. The symposium was part of the International Investigative Dermatology (IID) 2003 meeting. The goal of the symposium was to promote awareness, advance patient care and facilitate research in CTCL. The symposium also provided an annual venue to highlight new physicians and scientists to the field and new advances in the treatment of CTCL.

This year’s program consisted of four speakers. Dr. Lars French from the University of Geneva spoke about how lymphocytes survive in the skin and what strategies may prove useful to develop treatments that turn on "death" signals to cancerous cells. Dr. Sam Hwang of the National Institutes of Health spoke about the different molecules that make cells “sticky” and that new biologic treatments that target these molecules in other skin diseases, such as psoriasis, may have use in CTCL. Dr. Stuart Lessin of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia spoke about the use of Targretin® Gel in parapsoriasis, a condition that he considers a precursor stage of CTCL and should be treated as a means of preventing progression to CTCL.

Dr. Karen McGinnis, currently dermatology resident at the University of Pennsylvania, was awarded the MFF’s first Young Investigator Award for her work on treatment of subcutaneous T-cell lymphoma. She presented several cases of subcutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare and often aggressive form of cutaneous lymphoma, which responded to Ontak®, a treatment FDA approved for CTCL. Based on the excellent responses, she recommended the use of Ontak® as a first choice for the treatment of subcutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

The symposium was very well received, with over 150 international physicians and scientists in attendance. The IID 2003 is the fourth joint meeting of the European Society for Dermatological Research (ESRD), Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology (JSID) and the Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID).

Support for this year’s CTCL Symposium was provided by educational grants from Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Therakos, Inc. and ICN Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Judith Shea of the MFF organized the symposium and Dr. Stuart Lessin served as moderator. Plans are already underway for the 2nd annual CTCL Symposium to be held at the annual meeting of the SID in 2004.

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