One of the best advantages about studying Biomedicine at KI is getting the chance to attend conferences. During the summer, I received an email from my previous BSc course leader that they needed volunteers for the Nordic Life Science (NLS) Days conference. NLSDays is the biggest life science event in the Nordic region. It is a growing innovative community where businesses from the biotech, pharma, medtech, and policy authorities meet up to collaborate and provide insight into the recent trends about life science. This year it was hosted in Stockholm at the Waterfront Congress Centre. The venue was fancy and well-organized. After checking the three day-program, I was super ecstatic because of how dynamic the activities were. The fact that we were having dinner at the Stockholm City Hall got me even more excited.
We were given several tasks to work on as volunteers, one of them was registering the delegates at the reception. I missed a few workshops due to my volunteering and university schedule, but I was lucky that our course had two-day offs. In this blog post, I will try my best to keep it clear and straightforward while describing each day. There were several inspiring speakers at the super sessions (i.e., panel discussions and presentations) and workshops. I will mention the ones I really enjoyed which most of them were surprisingly from KI.
The academic catwalk was an excellent opening for the conference that focused on advancing academic ideas into innovation for patients. Academics spoke about their life-science projects becoming commercially successful. I definitely enjoyed listening to the physician, Dr. Ylva Trolle Lagerros from Karolinska Institutet. It was interesting to see how she integrated her medical background with digital healthcare to help diabetic patients. She came up with an app for patients with type 2 diabetes. It is called MittDiaCert that registers the patient’s care plan and focuses on keeping track of their good habits.
Twelve startups pitched their ideas to the investors and the audience during the Startup Challenge. We had to vote for our top 3 favorite startups. One of the ones I voted for that won first place was Gedea Biotech. They promote global women health by providing an effective treatment for women who either have a vaginal infection by bacteria or fungi. This will prevent the unnecessary use of antibiotics. Their drug is based on a food additive and is currently under clinical trials.
Super session: Crossroads in BioPharma and HealthTech
The title of this super session is self-explanatory. Dr. Sara Lei is also a physician at Karolinska University Hospital. She had an outstanding presentation where she caught everyone’s attention to her work. Her presentation was about “Digital Health in Pharma and Biotech from Medical Doctor’s Perspective.” She mentioned how digital healthcare is effectively helping clinicians in handling medical drugs such as blood-thinning drugs. (i.e., prevents blood clots to reduce strokes). She further highlighted the importance of healthcare and pharma to collaborate with IT. By uniting a patient’s perspective and healthcare aspect, greater results can be achieved.
Stockholm City Hall Reception Dinner
This was not my first visit to Stockholm City Hall, but it always feels like visiting it for the first time because of how beautiful it is. If I had to recommend my number one tourist attraction in Stockholm, it would be to check this place. It is known for annually hosting the Nobel Prize banquet. As the evening approached, everyone left the conference and walked towards the city hall. They gave us a brief speech about the history and the architecture behind this stunning building. The delegates and the volunteers were mingling and saw the Golden room with “Mälardrottning.” Afterwards, we had a delightful dinner and some delicious desserts. The city hall is usually closed at night, but we were lucky to observe the gorgeous night view by the sea.
Super session: Catching the Immuno-Oncology wave!
I think this was by far the most popular super session. The auditorium was filled with so many people who were eager to hear about the hottest trends in the immuno-oncology field. They stated in this session that personalized oncological treatments would be driven by new data, analysis, and tools in the future by performing genomics, digital pathology, proteomics, etc. Another interesting presentation that was carried out was called “Warming–up on Cold Tumors.” They discussed how research in cancer immunology focused on improving T cell priming, redirecting T cells to the cancer cell, as well as immune activation within the tumor. They further discussed generating specific T-cells that turn cold tumors hot using cancer vaccines, oncolytic viruses, T-cell engagers, and innate immune activators.
Last but not least, neuroscience was included in this context which is my current favorite subject. It was discovered that neural signaling stops immunotherapy from working. Hence, neural signaling impacts the outcomes of patients receiving immunotherapy. It drives tumor cell to become more invasive and impairs the T cell response. The aim of the Cancer & Neural-Immune Research Lab from Monash University was to block the neural signaling pathways using beta-blockers (i.e., cardiac drugs) in a cancer setting to prevent cancer progression and improve immunotherapy survival.
To conclude, there was a common thread in this conference where they emphasized on personalized medicine, as well as the importance of collaborating with different organizations. I hope I gave you an insight into what it feels like to be surrounded by so many inspiring academics and professionals. It was such an invaluable experience!
For the next blog post, it will be a review about our first course “Applied Communications in Biomedicine I,” so keep an eye out for that one! 😀
If you haven’t checked my first blogpost, here’s the link New Masters in Biomedicine Blogger Here!
Any questions? Contact me via email.
LinkedIn: Sara Abu Ajamieh