We are looking forward to welcoming the AKU Scientific community to Brussels next month for our 12th International Scientific Conference on AKU.

This meeting will bring together AKU researchers, academics, and clinicians to update the wider AKU community on AKU research. Talks and presentations will include an update of current and previous research, as well as co-therapies and approaches to future genetic and mRNA therapies.

The conference is being held at the  Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) on the 14th and 15th of May:

Vanden Driessche Lecture Theatre,
Brussels Health Campus,
Vrije Universiteit Brussel,
Laarbeeklaan 103,
1090 Brussels (Jette),

Below is a copy of the agenda for the conference, where the topics and speakers presenting can be viewed:

Saturday 14th May 
Session 1. Alkaptonuria in 2022 – Chair: J A Gallagher (Liverpool)
Time (CEST)Agenda
9.00Welcome, introduction, and aims – J De Kock (Brussels)
9.10Overview of progress to date and future challenges – N Sireau (AKUS)
9.40Current status with nitisinone treatment in alkaptonuria – L Ranganath (RLUH Liverpool)
10.25Coffee break
10.45 Exploring useful modifications of walking to reduce knee pain in AKU – G Barton (LJMU Liverpool)
11.10Novel thyroid findings in AKU – W Introne (NIH)
11.35Update on AKU in Turkey – P Teke Kısa (Izmar)
12.00Update on AKU in Jordan – M Alsbou (Jordan)
Session 2. Gene therapy in AKU – Chair: J De Kock (Brussels) 
14.10Update of AKU genetics – A Zatkova (Bratislava)
14.30Development of robust screening assays for the evaluation of AKU mutations – S Lequeue (Brussels)
14.50Update on gene therapy in inborn errors of metabolism – S Waddington (UCL)
15.25Liver-directed homogentisate 1,2-dioxygenase (HGD) gene therapy blocks homogentisic acid (HGA) accumulation and ochronosis in a novel mouse model for alkaptonuria (virtual presentation) – H Husson (Sanofi)
16.00Coffee Break
16.20Panel discussion: ‘What are the challenges for gene therapy in AKU?’ – J De Kock, S Waddington, H Husson
16.45Interplay between nitisinone, HPD, and TTC36: an in vitro and in vivo study – J Neuckermans (Brussels)
17.05Special Lecture ‘Nitisinone and mosquito control’ (L Ranganath to introduce) – A Acosta-Serrano (Liverpool)
17.45End of day one.
19.30Dinner in the centre of Brussels
Sunday 15th May
Session 3. Combatting tyrosinaemia and other AKU research – Chair: M Rudebeck (Sweden)
9.30Lessons from tyrosinaemia in HT-1 (Virtual presentation) – F van Spronsen (Groningen)
10.00Investigating tyrosinaemia in AKU (Virtual presentation) – M Khedr (RLUH Liverpool)
10.15Dietary management of AKU patients (Virtual presentation) – S Judd (RLUH Liverpool)
10:30Nitisinone therapy in AKU and cognition (Virtual presentation) – A Davison (Liverpool)
10.45Tyrosine degrading enzymes – J De Kock (Brussels)
11:05Coffee Break
11.25Mitigating tyrosinaemia – B Barnby (Alabama)
11.40Is there a link between homogentisic acid and cataract formation in AKU? – B Norman (Liverpool) and H Sutherland (Liverpool)
12.05Advanced structural studies on Ochronotic Pigment – W Y Chow (Warwick)
12.25Anatomical study of ochronotic pigment reveals the influence of loading – J Hughes (Edge Hill)
12.40Near-InfraRed Spectrometry in patients with alkaptonuria, a cohort study – M Vugts (Radboud)

We will share updates from the conference across our social media during the conference, as well as a full report in an upcoming blog post.

The workshop is only possible thanks to a generous grant from the European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases (EJPRD) Networking Support Scheme and the team’s assistance at VUB.

If you would like to attend the conference in-person or virtually please get in touch with michael@akusociety.org for more information.