APF at The British Thoracic Society Winter Meeting

March 2021

APF has been raising the profile of pulmonary fibrosis with leading healthcare professionals and researchers at the British Thoracic Society (BTS) Winter Meeting and learning about the latest research.

"The BTS Winter meeting always provides a great opportunity to update on what’s new in pulmonary fibrosis research. This year, the symposium on ‘ILD in 2020 – updates for the new decade’, which show-cased exciting developments in the use of artificial intelligence in interpreting CT images and genetics was the real highlight and showed how research could lead to stunning advances in treatment over the next decade." Steve Jones, Chair, APF

The BTS is the largest membership body for respiratory professionals in the UK. The society works towards better lung health for all, by championing excellence, influencing NHS policy and services, and working together with others who share their vision.  

APF had a virtual stand in the exhibition hall where people could drop by to learn more about pulmonary fibrosis, the support we provide, and meet members of the APF Team.  We were also able to attend the presentations and learn about the latest respiratory research.    

“I was really proud of our stand; the quality and breadth of the information was excellent and I hope our visitors (over 100 of them)  found them helpful and inspiring. The quality of the talks remains exceptional and the twitter banter that surrounded the conference was testament to the warmth of relationships and good humour that you experience at the real event!

There were some clear themes that are important for APF, which will shape the future of our work.  In particular accessibility of genetic testing for family members affected by Familial Pulmonary Fibrosis.  At APF we want to be involving family members to shape the support they will receive if they embark on this journey and we will need to be working closely with clinicians and the NHS so patient voices are central.  Although clinicians are willing, this will not be easy.” Louise Wright, CEO

The BTS community is dedicated to improving the lives of those with respiratory disease and this was evident from the passion with which researchers spoke when presenting their work.  Despite the huge pressures that respiratory medicine has faced and continues to face, the community has continued to progress research.  

The conference was filled with inspiring research: technological advances including the use of artificial intelligence in interpreting HRCT scans, the future of genetics in the diagnosis and management of pulmonary fibrosis, and the basic science that is expanding knowledge of the mechanisms of disease.

“One of the many highlights of the conference was attending the Prize Symposium, where early career investigators compete to win prestigious awards which recognise the exceptional quality of their research.  It was great to see PhD student Rachele Invernizzi, an APF Travel Awardee who is supervised by APF Fellow Dr Phil Molyneaux, win the British Lung Foundation Award for her work on the role of bacteria (and bacterial metabolites) in IPF.”  Wendy Adams, Research Officer

The coronavirus pandemic has understandably had a huge impact across all aspects of respiratory care.  The conference enabled healthcare professionals to access high quality information and resources, and share their experiences regarding pioneering advances and future management plans.  

“It was particularly inspiring to see how teams had adapted service delivery to virtual platforms so efficiently during the pandemic, whilst maintaining safe and effective patient care.

"There was a lot of discussion around the benefits and challenges of remote service delivery, including pulmonary rehabilitation, with the main consensus being that whilst it doesn’t replace face to face programmes (which many service users prefer), it is nevertheless a valuable and effective additional mode of delivery used in the right circumstances, with those who wish to access online services. It is anticipated both modes of delivery will continue to be used going forward.” Joanna Ruck, Regional Support Coordinator North

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