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Wednesday, 26 September 2012 12:28

A great Nexus Symposium and a year on from UN meeting on NCDs

It is just over a year ago that the United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) was convened in New York (September 19-20, 2011). This came at the end of an intense period of ISN activity – many ISN members finding opportunities to influence their health ministers to ask for an increased emphasis at that meeting on the importance of kidney disease as a major NCD.

So, it was a small but important breakthrough to see kidney disease mentioned in the Political Statement which emerged from the High Level Meeting (when there was no mention of kidney disease in earlier drafts). Since then, in January 2012, ISN has entered ‘official relations’ with WHO, and through this and other channels we continue to do all we can to ensure a rightful place for kidney disease in global health policy for NCDs.

On my way back from my extended trip to South East Asia, I was very pleased I could stop over at the Nexus Symposium - ‘Bone & the Kidney’- in Copenhagen. It is six years since ISN launched the Nexus Symposium concept with a first meeting - also on the theme of interactions between bone and the kidney, and also in Copenhagen.

The Nexus concept is proving very successful – bench to bedside in a well-defined area of nephrology research and practice, bringing together the laboratory science and clinical science which are both sparking progress in the field, and emphasising the translational opportunities that are emerging. I saw this success once in Copenhagen this week. We had hoped for about 500 people to come, but in the end 700 registrants attended a vibrant meeting. All the leaders in the field were there, and there was strong support from ISN’s corporate partners.

There was a great buzz around the symposium with lively exchanges and interactions both inside and outside the scientific sessions. It was good to see plenty of young investigators at the meeting and once again ‘Meet the Professor’ breakfast sessions were very popular. My congratulations to Kumar Sharma and his Nexus Committee; to the four scientific programme co-chairs for the Copenhagen Nexus meeting – Tilman Drueke, Jürgen Floege, Heini Murer, Klaus Olgaard; and to the ISN Nexus management team led by Jenny Bateman -all contributed to the success.

More than one veteran leader in the field told me it was one of the best meetings they had ever attended – praise indeed. And younger attendees were already ‘talking’ about it on ISN’s new Facebook page launched just last week. Be sure to watch out for future Nexus meetings!

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