Cancer and infectious disease researchers convened in Seattle last week to focus on one of the most complex challenges in medical science: stopping infections in patients whose immune systems are knocked down by disease or by an organ or blood stem-cell transplant.
Sponsored by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the 3rd Symposium on Infectious Diseases in the Immunocompromised Host, held June 10-11, revealed a vibrant medical landscape marked by rapid changes in cancer treatment and in the management of infections that can accompany these therapies.
Symposium participants focused on new ways to diagnose, prevent or treat the infections that may accompany both traditional transplants and new therapies that boost or modify a patient’s immune system.
“We have shown here how complicated things get when we treat our patients,” said Dr. Michael Boeckh, head of Infectious Disease Sciences at Fred Hutch and organizer of the conference, which drew more than 225 doctors, researchers, pharmacists, advanced-practice providers and medical trainees from six continents.
“There is not always one answer, and sometimes we have to put together everything we ever learned in medicine to understand complexities at this intersection of infection and the immune system,” Boeckh said.