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Going the Extra Mile for Respiratory Patients

CSL Behring is heading to the European Respiratory Society International Congress with a Walk for Alpha 1 and a symposium on how machine learning can speed up research.

illustration of lungs on blue background

When the European Respiratory Society has its International Congress next month in Barcelona, it will be the first in-person meeting for the group since 2019.

Leaders with CSL Behring, a global biotech that develops medicines for rare and serious diseases, will be there ready to engage both bodies and minds at the September 4-6 event. They’ll facilitate a symposium on the nonprofit, international Open Source Imaging Consortium (OSIC), of which CSL Behring is a founding member.

“As part of our promise to those living with rare and serious diseases, CSL Behring is proud to attend ERS and continue supporting the respiratory community,” said Lutz Bonacker, Senior Vice President & General Manager of CSL Behring EU Commercial Operations. “With our Walk for Alpha 1, we’ll take thousands of steps together to show our commitment to patients, their caregivers and their families. At our ERS symposium, we’ll explore artificial intelligence in action with a discussion about using big data to make strides in treating interstitial lung diseases (ILD).”

The symposium, “Re-IMAGinING: the pathway for clinical decision-making in rare lung diseases – moving towards a united vision,” will focus on key unmet clinical challenges in ILD, IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) and AATD (Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency). OSIC, a first-of-its-kind database for interstitial lung diseases, brings together scientists, industry, academia and philanthropy. The repository is gathering thousands of lung scans – and accompanying, anonymized clinical data – to create a massive resource designed to enable rapid advances in the detection and diagnosis of lung diseases through digital imaging and machine learning. These insights have the potential to impact diagnostic procedures and clinical decision making, experts say.

The symposium, at lunchtime on September 4, will be chaired by Dr. Charlie Strange, Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina and Professor Daiana Stolz, Medical Director of the Clinic for Pneumology, University Hospital Freiburg, Germany. 

To underscore its commitment to respiratory patients, CSL Behring also will be walking to raise awareness for Alpha 1, a rare disease caused by a lacking protein in the blood that causes the lungs to weaken over time. That protein, alpha 1 antitrypsin, plays an important role in protecting lungs from damage due to excessive inflammation. Without this protein, lungs may weaken over time and patients may be at higher risk for developing serious diseases, such as early-onset emphysema, often misdiagnosed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). An abnormal amount of AAT in the liver can also cause liver disease. 

To support patients who live with alpha 1, ERS Congress attendees can participate in the “Walk for Alpha 1.” During ERS 2021, participants took more than 8 million steps and over 6,000 kilometers together. This year, CSL Behring invites ERS attendees to stop by the booth in Barcelona to participate. Everyone’s steps will add up to a monetary donation to the organization Team Alpha 1 Athlete that raises awareness about lung disease and Alpha 1.