Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a relatively rare, acquired autoimmune syndrome resulting from pathogenic auto- antibodies that cause failure of neuromuscular synaptic transmission. The disease often produces severe muscle weakness leading to significant disability and can be life-threatening. Despite notable improvements in diagnosis and treatment of MG, significant hurdles remain that will require synthesis of research from basic, translational and clinical domains to overcome. The New York Academy of Sciences and the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America will convene the 3-day 12th International Conference on Myasthenia Gravis and Related Disorders on May 21-23, 2012 at the New York Academy of Sciences Conference Center in New York, NY. The forthcoming conference represents a long-standing collaboration between these non-profit organizations. The co-PIs on this project are Matthew N. Meriggioli (PI), MD, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago and Gil I. Wolfe (PI), MD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas. In the four years since the 11th International Conference, a number of important breakthroughs have led to the identification of novel potential therapeutic targets for MG and related disorders, advancements in the clinical classification of MG subtypes, and the initiation of a number of new clinical trial for improved MG treatment options, making this an ideal time to reconvene this community to review these findings and discuss the future of research in this area. Ten plenary sessions will span the full spectrum of research from bench to bedside, including structure and function of the neuromuscular junction, advances in immunology, recent clinical developments related to MG, outcome measurements, clinical trial development, animal models of neuromuscular disease, MG treatment updates, congenital and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndromes, and thymectomy and the MGTX trial. Participants will be encouraged to interact during panel discussions and networking receptions, and junior investigators will be especially encouraged to participate through reduced registration rates, travel fellowships, and inclusion of 2 poster sessions and student oral presentations. The goals of this program are to: 1) provide a forum for basic, translational, and clinical researchers from academia and industry to present and discuss the most up-to-date findings in MG research;2) explore and encourage multidisciplinary and multi-sector collaborations to enhance investigative approaches into MG and related autoimmune and neuromuscular disorders;3) review current MG therapeutic options, ongoing clinical trials, and challenges and limitations faced in the clinic;4) attract and maintain young and underrepresented minority investigators to the field and provide a venue for junior and senior scientists to establish new relationships and collaborations;and 5) reach a global scientific community by disseminating conference proceedings via our website and the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Public Health Relevance

The International Conference on Myasthenia Gravis and Related Disorders has been held approximately every 5 years since 1954 to promote the exchange of scientific and medical information among international, multidisciplinary clinical, translational, and basic researchers studying neuromuscular transmission and autoimmune disorders. The broad objectives of the 12th installment of this series are to present and discuss up-to-date laboratory and clinical research related to myasthenia gravis and related disorders to stimulate improved diagnosis, therapeutics, and management of these diseases. The cross-disciplinary discussions among participants during the conference, the online and print dissemination of the conference proceedings, and the new research collaborations generated at the meeting will stimulate the identification and validation of novel drug targets, development of improved clinical trials, and establishment of an agenda for future research on myasthenia gravis and related disorders. Disclaimer: Please note that the following critiques were prepared by the reviewers prior to the Study Section meeting and are provided in an essentially unedited form. While there is opportunity for the reviewers to update or revise their written evaluation, based upon the group's discussion, there is no guarantee that individual critiques have been updated subsequent to the discussion at the meeting. Therefore, the critiques may not fully reflect the final opinions of th individual reviewers at the close of group discussion or the final majority opinion of the group. Thus the Resume and Summary of Discussion is the final word on what the reviewers actually considered critical at the meeting.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Conference (R13)
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National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Initial Review Group (NSD)
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Porter, John D
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New York Academy of Sciences
New York
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Thiruppathi, Muthusamy; Rowin, Julie; Li Jiang, Qin et al. (2012) Functional defect in regulatory T cells in myasthenia gravis. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1274:68-76