Highlights from the annual BSTH meeting 2022

February 2023 General Jolien Blokken

From November 24th to November 25th 2022 the annual BSTH meeting took place in Mechelen. Once more, participants coming from university hospitals, research centers, clinical labs and institutions that are active in the field of heart and vascular diseases, thrombosis, haemophilia, and other bleeding disorders gathered during this 29th edition. Below we summarize the key congress highlights, as presented during the meeting.

Future Directions in Platelet Research

The first state of the art lecture at the 2022 BSTH annual meeting focussed on platelet research. In a first lecture of this session, Prof. Jonathan Douxfils  (University of Namur, Belgium) addressed the interplay between platelets and coagulation, and explained how further research into this interaction may facilitate a better understanding of complex bleeding disorders. Prof. Robert Ahrends (University of Vienna, Austria) followed up with a lecture onhow lipidomics can be used to unravel platelet function and reveal therapeutic opportunities.  Finally, Prof. Claudia Tersteeg (KU Leuven, Belgium) wrapped up the session with a presentation on the role of procoagulant platelets in controlling normal haemostasis and mediate thrombosis and thrombo-inflammation… Read more

Antithrombin and inherited deficiency: Current knowledge and perspectives  

The Gaston Baele Memorial Lecture, named after the first President of the Board of the Belgian Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (BSTH), is held annually during the BSTH meeting. For the edition of 2022, Professor Kristin Jochmans from the University Hospital Brussels was elected to present this lecture. Prof. Jochmans focussed on antithrombin (AT), our key natural coagulant, and AT deficiency. The presentation walked us through the diverse molecular functions of AT, touched upon the diagnosis and clinical presentations of AT deficiency, including a discussion of the causes for its underdiagnosis… Read more

Diagnosis of acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura

During the educational session of the annual BSTH meeting, Prof. Katrien Devreese (Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium) gave an overview on how to adequately diagnose acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). In this, an ADAMTS13 activity below 10% (10 IU/dL) is diagnostic in patients with a clinical scenario of TTP. To date, several assays are available to determine ADAMTS13 activity, including functional FRET based assays, chromogenic ELISA assays and rapid screenings. Unfortunately, test results are not always readily available, which may cause problems in emergency situations. Apart from ADAMTS13 activity measurements, also an ADAMTS13 antibody assessment is necessary to discriminate between congenital or immune-mediated TTP. Finally, ADAMTS13 activity should be monitored throughout TTP treatment in order to timely detect the risk of exacerbation or relapse… Read more

In and beyond atherothrombosis

The second state of the art lecture at the 2022 BSTH annual meeting focussed on atherothrombosis. In a first lecture of this session, Prof. Lina Badimon (Hospital de la Santa Crue and Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain) addressed the recent progress in antiplatelet therapy and the different factors that contribute to the formation of thrombi. Thereafter, Dr. Matthias Engelen (University Leuven) discussed antithrombotic therapy in COVID-19 and provided an overview of the updated BSTH guidelines in this field. Finally, Dr. Marie-Astrid Van Dievoet, (Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels, Belgium) closed the session with a presentation on platelets in chronic liver disease as well as preliminary results from her own research work in this setting… Read more

Haematologic diseases and potential future treatments: Award winners at the 2022 annual BSTH meeting

One of the missions of the Belgian Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (BSTH) is to support young researchers in the field of haematology. This support comes in the form of different prices granted during the annual BSTH meeting. In 2022, the Paul Capel price was granted to Sarah Vandelanotte, MBS (KU Leuven, Belgium) in the category of basic research, and to Dr. Matthias Engelen (UZ Leuven, Belgium) in the category of Clinical/Laboratory Research. The first presentation focussed on how to treat rt-PA resistant ischemic stroke thrombi. The second walked us through the results of theDAWn-Antico trial, which analysed if modulation of thrombo-inflammation with aprotinin, LMWH and anakinra could improve clinical outcomes in COVID patients. Finally, Sarah Vandelanotte was also awarded with the 2022 CSL Behring award for her work on the development of novel gene therapy strategies that in time may serve as a long-term treatment for von Willebrand disease (VWD) … Read more