December 2019: Genotyping workshop at CILM supported by IRD and AUF

A workshop on hepatitis genotyping took place from December 3th to 6th, 2019 at the Christophe Mérieux Infectiology Centre of Laos, (CILM) in Vientiane. It brought together Lao and Cambodian students supervised by specialists from Institut Pasteur in Paris (France), Pascal Pineau and Agnès Marchio. After a theoretical course, the students were able to learn at the bench about hepatitis virus genotyping techniques (HBV genotyping by differential PCR, B/C genotypes by qPCR, and HCV genotyping by RFLP). Genotyping is important for the implementation of targeted therapies. This technique did not previously exist at the CILM. Its implementation will benefit patients by reducing the economic burden of treatment. Read more on twitter

November 2019: Mekong Hepatitis Symposium 

A conference “Toward Hepatitis B Control and Hepatitis C Elimination” was organized by CILM from 27-29 November 2019. More than 100 researchers & health professionals involved in the fight against hepatitis took part, including presentations by COCLICAN members. Following this, a workshop with AUF and IRD took place on hepatitis genotype sequencing, with participants from Laos and Cambodia.

November – December 2019: KUT workshops for staff at Faculty of Pharmacy, Vientiane

Prof. Rimantas Venskutonis from Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania held a series of workshops on “Extraction techniques of plasma,  plant samples and assay bioactive compounds into biomarkers for viral hepatitis” at the Faculty of Pharmacy, UHS in Laos during November 11 –December 11, 2019. This included practical sessions on different extraction methods, assays and quality control methods, and a special lecture entitled “Biorefining of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) threshing residues into cannabinoid and antioxidant fractions by supercritical carbon dioxide, pressurized liquid and enzyme-assisted extractions”.

August 2019: IRD conference in Peru: “An evolutionary perspective on cancer”

On August 14th, Dr. Benjamin Roche from IRD gave a plenary conference on the topic: “An evolutionary perspective on cancer”, as part of his secondment at INEN, Peru. During this conference, Benjamin drew a panorama about how evolutionary ecology can improve our knowledge about cancer. He talked about how cancerous cells can compete with other kind of cells, especially the cells of the immune system, in a similar manner to animal species within an ecological community. He also discussed how characterizing and considering evolutionary dynamics of cancer cells within a tumoral ecosystem can allow envisioning new kind of strategies against cancer, especially to delay the emergence of chemotherapy resistance. A video of his talk is available on COCLICAN YouTube

July 2019: LISA 2-day workshop at INEN Peru on hepatic function evaluation and medical imaging

Dr. Olivier Debeir directs the LISA/image unit at ULB, Belgium, and is a specialist in biomedical image processing. During his 1 month secondment at INEN, Lima, he gave a 2 day workshop for INEN staff, to be tested at I NEN on unusual liver pathologies observed in Peruvian patients.

On the first day, he introduced the two approaches developed at the LISA for MRI in vivo liver assessment. The first approach studies the specific contrast agent Primovist, known to be metabolized by the healthy hepatic cells. The relative and absolute liver volume is evaluated using a 3D volume registration before and after contrast agent uptake.The second approach aims to enable artefact free diffusion weighted imaging (DWE) which is usually impaired by the organ motion (respiration and heart). On the second day, the workshop presented several recently developed techniquesin the medical imaging domain involving deep neural networks.

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