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Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research, May 2-6, 2008

Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting

The Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting took place May 2-6 in Honolulu, and attracted about 7,000 attendees including 1,000 from Asia. The world's largest academic pediatrics meeting featured more than 2,000 presentations by researchers from more than 28 subspecialties and addressed all aspects of children's well being, including basic and clinical sciences, translational and health services research, and clinical advances.

"The hot area was genetics and how to use the new genetic information and technologies to understand disease and potentially develop interventions on behalf of children," said program chair Bill Keenan, M.D., of St. Louis University.

According to Keenan, one of the most exciting presentations was "From Fate to Fat: The Role of Glucocorticoids in Mesenchymal Stem Cells," which was delivered by this year's Young Investigator Award winner, Brian Jay Feldman, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco.

"He spoke about the programming and deposition of fat into cells," Keenan said. "He's created some animal models which are very analogous to the central distribution of fat in humans and its worrisome association with cardiovascular disease. It's quite exciting research because it sheds light on the endocrine-controlled mechanisms that are behind central obesity. Getting to a basic understanding of obesity is going to advance what we can do for children's health, and that in turn will advance what we can do for adults' health."

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Keenan also cited a presentation by Todd R. Golub, M.D., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, a winner of the E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research.

"His lab is working on genetic approaches to cancer therapeutics," Keenan said. "Although there have been tremendous advances in the care of childhood cancer and cure rates are high, there are some refractory cancers which are very poorly understood. So he and his colleagues are using genomic analysis to identify abnormalities that are implicated in these cancers. They've also taken a second look at some older cancer drugs that aren't widely used and were thought to be ineffective against these kinds of cancers. Now that they have the gene targets, they're able to pick out some of these medications that may help control some of these cancers. These are in animal models, but results are quite promising to a whole group of children and adults who have difficult-to-treat and puzzling cancers."

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Keenan also cited a presentation by Victor F. Nizet, M.D., of the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine, another winner of the E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research, who spoke on "Probing the Host-Pathogen Interface for New Therapeutic Targets."

"His approach is to understand the genetics' so-called 'superbugs' and how these organisms protect themselves from the body's defenses," Keenan said. "He's shown how molecular treatments can make these organisms less virulent so the body can protect itself against such infections or even cure them. This is exciting because it represents a whole different level of prevention and treatment. As clinicians, we often have this sinking feeling that as we develop a new antibiotic, the organisms will soon learn how to protect themselves against it. But this reverses that approach to look at the organisms and their mechanisms first instead of coming up with new antibiotics to give to patients."

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PAS: Birth Weight Affects Blood Pressure in Adolescence

WEDNESDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Infants with a lower birth weight have an increased risk of elevated systolic blood pressure in late adolescence and early adulthood, according to research from China presented this week at the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting in Honolulu.

Abstract #5855.7

PAS: Live Flu Vaccine Evaluated in Infants

TUESDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- In infants who receive flu vaccinations, immunogenicity is higher in those who receive live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) than in those who receive trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine. Also, viral shedding is more common among younger children who receive LAIV than in older children, according to two studies presented this week at the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting in Honolulu.

Abstract #5628.5
Abstract #5628.6

PAS: Novel Meningococcal Vaccine Found Effective

TUESDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to the licensed quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine Menactra, the novel MenACWY-CRM vaccine has similar tolerability and reactogenicity, but its immunogenicity is higher at one month post-vaccination, according to research presented this week at the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting in Honolulu.

Abstract #5628.8

PAS: DHA Supplementation Benefits Premature Infants

TUESDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- In premature infants, high-dose dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation during the neonatal period improves Bayley Mental Index scores at age 18 months in girls and in those with a very low birth weight, according to research presented this week at the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting in Honolulu.

Abstract #5127.2

PAS: Personal Beliefs, Barriers Affect HPV Vaccination

MONDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- Mothers may be less likely to have daughters under the age of 13 vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) than they would older daughters, despite current recommendations, according to research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting held in Honolulu this week.

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