Annual meeting: a reflection on our first year
The annual meeting of RTCure was a great success. The open and honest dialogue between consortium partners resulted in a real sense of community which is critical to drive a project like this forward. Thank you for your presence and we are looking forward to next year!
Place: Beerse, Belgium
Date: 26-28 September, 2018
Number of participants: 84 participants
Objective: To reflect on the first year of RTCure and to create a detailed plan for the next year in order to best achieve RTCure's goal, i.e. to be able to induce immune tolerance in RA.
Programme: The meeting started with an interesting presentation of the academic, patient and legal perspectives on RTCure. Then all work packages highlighted the main results of the first year, which was followed by in-depth breakout sessions to determine their future directions. We also had a follow-up debate on "My Tolerising dream ticket" of the Immune Tolerance meeting in Sigtuna, and several poster presentations. On the final day, four topic specific meetings were held about the risk-RA registry, animal models, autoantigens in RA and our future interactions with regulatory bodies.
Results: Besides the scientific evaluation and decisions made during this meeting, this gathering also reinforced the sense of shared purpose and cooperation notwithstanding the size and heterogeneity of our consortium. This meeting also allowed us to make appropriate changes and address issues that we found during the first year’s development of the project. Important decisions were made about how we will enable and support each other in the coming months and years, and the relationships between industry, Patient Research Partners (PRPs), academia and SMEs were enhanced.
INSIGHTS FROM CONSORTIUM PARTNERS
"I was most impressed with the collaborative spirit and active participation of the participants. We have made good progress in the first year and in the next few years we should start seeing data evolve." said a scientist from industry.
A scientist from academia highlighted: "The interactions with the PRPs was particularly insightful. It is important to ensure that the voice of the people who we are aiming to impact with these efforts remains at the forefront of our minds as we move forward. One particularly important takeaway for me was the need to ensure that we can effectively communicate the fantastic science and medical advances to an audience with much less scientific, medical, computational, legal experience."
The patient representative: "After months of intense e-mailing and discussions it was a real breakthrough when the PRPs and the consortium members got to meet in person. These face to face meetings resulted in a deeper mutual understanding and respect for all parties and for me that was really important. To see and hear the PRPs getting their trust back in the project was a great feeling."
An industry partner said: "It's important to have PRPs attending these discussions: on a personal level, it was an important reminder of who we are doing this for and why. More generally speaking, it is important that we understand patients’ needs as well as their concerns, it’s an opportunity to engage with them, to make them actors of the project."