PRF’s 2022 PRF International Scientific Workshop – Race Progeria to the Cure, was an overwhelming success, bringing together 124 registrants from 14 countries. Leading physicians, researchers, and families with Progeria met in Boston, MA, to share the latest findings in Progeria research and set the stage for future efforts to discover new treatments and the cure for children and young adults with Progeria.
We kicked off opening night with our first-ever panel moderated by a young adult with Progeria, 27-year-old Sammy Basso, of Tezze sul Brenta, Italy. The panel also featured two others living with Progeria, Meg and Carlos, who captivated the audience by sharing the new and exciting activities they’ve recently accomplished in the past year. Quite excitingly, Meg is graduating college this month! Opening night also a included a live zoom with children around the world, followed by a surprise musical performance by Dr. Francis Collins, Science Advisor to the President of the U.S. and whose lab led the discovery of the Progeria gene. Dr. Collins serenaded the audience with several popular songs with modified lyrics about PRF’s progress toward the cure. How special!
Days two and three of the workshop centered around 28 oral scientific presentations and 26 posters. We began day three with a new addition to the workshop: the Sunrise Session, which connected junior investigators with senior leaders in the field in a small group setting, inciting compelling dialogue among the various groups of researchers.
Bringing back another workshop favorite, our lightning round gave poster presenters a platform to deliver their peers a dynamic teaser of the posters they would later present that evening. These presentations highlighted the latest developments in clinical research on Progeria, including a deep dive into the transformational progress of RNA therapeutics and gene editing in preclinical studies, as well as a cardiac session that highlighted intervention strategies for critical aortic stenosis in young adults with Progeria. The presentations and posters detailed the depth of progress with potential Progeria treatments, and inspired future collaboration between the research and medical communities.
In addition, several attendees took advantage of the continuing medical education (CME) credits offered through Lifespan Rhode Island Hospital’s CME office.
Examples of some of the workshop feedback are as follows:
“Awesome meeting. I thought Wednesday night was fantastic. Leslie gave an awesome talk. It was great to have a progeria patient lead the panel. Panel is always a highlight. Thank you for asking Francis to come back to sing. I love that part as well! Meeting was so well organized. Thank you!”
“I always look forward to this meeting. The [workshop location] Royal Sonesta is an exceptional space for the meeting; every aspect was perfectly planned!”
“Every time, I can see improvement… just continue in this way! It was very impressive the “family atmosphere” able to make everyone more relaxed and more comfortable to learn and ask questions. Fun and instructive, such a great injection of hope!”
“Excellent conference with phenomenal speakers!”
“As always, outstanding Workshop, can’t be missed!”
Sammy and Carlos talking before they give their panel presentation
Francis Collins, MD, PhD performing for the audience several popular songs
Researchers, clinicians, and Progeria families from around the world convened at PRF’s 11th International Scientific Workshop.
The volunteer Medical Research Committee met before the conference to review new and exciting grant proposals.