Thursday 17 October 2013

Day Two in Salt Lake City

The conference starts for real today (Thursday) with sessions on a range of topics including latest developments in CFTR research, innovative approaches to improving adherence and ways of supporting the growing number of adults with the condition.

Later today there is also a plenary session entitled ‘Roadmap to a Cure’, which I am particularly looking forward to attending. People in the UK can tune into this session via live streaming at although it is not due to start until 11.20pm UK time, I'm afraid.

Through the day we are planning to catch up with colleagues from Canada, France and Germany to discuss ways of collaborating on common challenges, and we are due to meet the Vertex team too. This conference will be the venue for further information on the latest clinical trials of Vertex’s combination therapies which are generating a lot of interest within our community, and we will make sure we communicate any information we receive on these.

Yesterday, Janet Allen and I had a series of meetings with partners, including two pharmaceutical companies, Gilead and Forrest. We are very keen to develop closer relationships with industry to help drive our research and clinical ambitions.

We also spent a couple of hours talking to Dr Diana Bilton, the lead adult cystic fibrosis consultant at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. Di is a fantastic champion for the cystic fibrosis cause and chairs the NHS’s Clinical Reference Group that helps shape NHS policy in England on key issues relating to cystic fibrosis care.

We discussed NHS funding of cystic fibrosis centres, the program we have launched to provide genotype testing for people with cystic fibrosis, and innovative ways to develop new models of care.

The Trust works closely with Di on a range of issues and it is one of the bizarre features of conferences like this that they provide rare opportunities – 6,000 miles from home - to have in-depth discussions with people who may work only a few miles away from us in the UK.

Just after lunch, I took the opportunity to take a quick look at the Salt Lake Temple, the spiritual home of the Mormons. Salt Lake City was founded by the Mormons more than 150 years ago and their headquarters is only a few hundred yards from the Convention Centre where this conference is being held.

One of the legacies of the Mormon pioneers is the extremely wide streets here. So to ensure that pedestrians are properly protected as they make the long trek to cross the road, red flags are provided at some crossings to warn oncoming traffic. It’s a bit over the top in a city where traffic is relatively light but I was happy to try it out and you will pleased to know that I arrived safely at the other side of the street!

I’m looking forward to our meetings today and we’ll keep you posted on what we learn from the sessions we attend.

1 comment:

  1. Informative blog, thank-you! I look forward to reading more of your perspectives on the conference and information emerging from it!