Caroline Broos received NRS Travel Grant

Travel grants November 2014

Caroline Broos

Phd candidate
Department of Pulmonary Medicine
Erasmus MC, Rotterdam

I am a third year PhD candidate at the department of Pulmonary Medicine of the Erasmus MC with a research project focused on the role of T cell subsets in the pathogenesis of sarcoidosis. Parallel to these immunological studies I have initiated a clinical trial in pulmonary sarcoidosis patients (Trial ID: NTR4328 ‘STEPS study’) to optimize first-line prednisone therapy and reduce side effects. Since the WASOG aims to merge basic with clinical science in sarcoidosis, in order to optimize our understanding and therapy of the disease, attendance of this congress allowed me to bring my research in the sarcoidosis field to a new level.

WASOG conferences are known for their excellent opportunities to interact with prominent leaders in the field due to their relatively small size. Therefore I got the opportunity to interact with world leaders in the field of sarcoidosis immunology, including Johan Grunewald (Stockholm, Sweden) and Wonder Drake (Nashville, Tennessee). Interestingly, Johan Grunewald showed evidence for clonal expansion of T cells with a specific T cell receptor in the BAL fluid of sarcoidosis patients, and is currently unraveling its amino acid structure to find the putative antigen. Wonder Drake presented data suggesting a role for M.tuberculosis-derived particles in sarcoid granuloma formation. She has recently initiated a clinical trial with anti-tuberculosis drugs for the management of chronic sarcoidosis.

Interestingly, during the session “Therapy of interstitial lung disease”, Daniel Culver (Cleveland, Ohio) and Nadera Sweiss (Chicago, Illinois) reflected on the therapeutic potential of biologicals in sarcoidosis. Daniel Culver highlighted the potential of Rituximab in a subset of chronic sarcoidosis patients, and the need for further investigation of the role of B cells in pulmonary sarcoidosis. Importantly, in my project we are currently evaluating follicular T helper cells and B cell numbers in sarcoidosis mediastinal lymph nodes, hopefully shedding more light on this topic. Furthermore, Nadera Sweiss highlighted the importance to reduce prednisone dosages in sarcoidosis, and the need for clinical trials to reduce side effects. Therefore, during the poster sessions I got the opportunity to reflect on important outcome parameters of the STEPS study with Nadera Sweiss.

In conclusion, participation in the WASOG conference helped me to fine-tune the approach for the final stage of my PhD project. Furthermore, it facilitated the extension of our network of collaborators, bringing our sarcoidosis research to a (inter) national level. 

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