Archive for the ‘melanins’ Category

Meeting report: 1st International Workshop on Oculocutaneous Albinism in Subsaharian Africa

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
1st International Workshop on Oculocutaneous Albinism in Subsaharian Africa

1st International Workshop on Oculocutaneous Albinism in Subsaharian Africa

Last week, on 24-25 July, the 1st International Workshop on Oculocutaneous Albinism in Subsaharian Africa took place at the Sawa hotel, in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon. This meeting was organized by Robert Aquaron (Univ. Aix-Marseille, France), Albert Mouelle (Univ. Douala, Cameroon) and Charlotte Baker (Lancaster Univ., UK) and counted with the participation of several additional scientists from different countries, including: Patricia Lund, Benoît Arveiler, Alain Taïeb, Alain Froment, Pierre Bey, Robyn Kerr, Jennifer Kromberg, Martial Zannou and Lluís Montoliu. The meeting was co-sponsored by Lancaster University, Wellcome-Trust, Avene/Pierre-Fabre laboratory and the European Society for Pigment Cell Research (ESPCR), among many other government (Yvonne Matuturu, from UNESCO, Burundi, several ministries in Cameroon) and non-government institutions (Jon Beale, Standing Voice). The meeting was attended by more than 120 participants coming from several countries in Africa, including: Cameroon, Burundi, Benin, Ivory Coast, Mali, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Niger, Nigeria and Republic of the Congo.

From left to right: Robert Aquaron, Charlotte Baker, the Rector of the University of Douala, Albert Mouelle and the President of ASMODISA

From left to right: Robert Aquaron, Charlotte Baker, the Rector of the University of Douala, Albert Mouelle and the President of ASMODISA

This meeting was in many ways unique and exceptionally successful and the organizers must be praised for having managed in bringing to Cameroon many different people with a common interest on albinism in Africa. Basic researchers, clinicians, anthropologists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, experts in human rights, professors at universities, members of associations and organizations in support of people with albinism, advocating for albinism, people with albinism themselves, students and public in general gathered in Douala to discuss both scientific and social aspects of albinism, particularly focused into topics that affect people with albinism in Africa. Albinism is the same genetic condition present in Europe and Africa, and everywhere else in the world. However, whereas people with albinism in Europe can concentrate their efforts in the visual handicapping features of albinism, while protecting their skin from the sun with adequate creams and clothes, the absence of these simple materials in Africa makes these individual unfortunately and unnecessarily prone to develop skin cancer, and with fatal consequences if tumors are not treated in time. Hence, the dermatological aspects of oculocutaneous albinism, mainly OCA2, the commonest form of albinism in Africa, become extraordinarily relevant and, consequently, were the subject of many presentations and discussions throughout this workshop in Douala.

Two participants with oculocutaneous (OCA) albinism attending the conference in Douala. The person on the left is OCA2, the person on the right is OCA1.

Two participants with oculocutaneous (OCA) albinism attending the conference in Douala. The person on the left is OCA2, the person on the right is OCA1.

Raising positive awareness and advocating for people with albinism was a common aim for all organizations attending this workshop in Douala. ALBA and Genespoir, the Spanish and French associations in support of people with albinism, contributed with copies of the book on “Albinism. One genetic condition: two realities, Spain and Senegal”, originally published in Spanish by ALBA in 2009 and later translated to French by Genespoir in 2012. French copies of this book with many testimonials by people with albinism from both Europe and Africa were distributed among representative delegates from African associations in support of people with albinism. Two flyers, sponsored by ESPCR, dealing with the workshop and with oculocutaneous albinism type 2, OCA2, were distributed to all the participants.

Robert Aquaron distributing sun protection cream among participants (click on image for VIDEO)

Robert Aquaron distributing sun protection cream among participants (click on image for VIDEO)

The meeting closed with a Gala Dinner where sun protection creams (50+ SPF) generously donated by Avene/Pierre-Fabre laboratory, were distributed among people with albinism participating in this conference and the corresponding associations representing them. At this Gala Dinner we could enjoy performances by several groups with people with albinism sharing their talent dancing, singing or in a fantastic mannequin parade where a local fashion designer is using them to present his creations. Among these performances there was one outstanding, by John Chiti, from Zambia, a gifted music composer that uses the language of music and his rhythmic songs to talk about his albinism and albinism in general, advocating for this genetic condition and increasing positive awareness among the society.

Dances at the Gala Dinner of the Albinism Conference in Douala (click on image for VIDEO)

Dances at the Gala Dinner of the Albinism Conference in Douala (click on image for VIDEO)

Performance of John Chiti, music composer from Zambia, at the Gala Dinner of the Albinism Conference in Douala (click on image for VIDEO)

Performance of John Chiti, music composer from Zambia, at the Gala Dinner of the Albinism Conference in Douala (click on image for VIDEO)

In summary, this was a splendid conference where we all shared our progress into the understanding and treatment of albinism, where we could discuss, face to face, directly with people with albinism in Africa and their associations, listening to their needs and their requests for help and support. This should be the first of many additional workshops to come, in Africa, to keep this momentum and push forward the awareness on albinism in this continent where the priorities and requirements for life are somehow different from what we are used to hear in Europe. Attending a meeting in Africa is always a moving and very emotional experience, where you are directly confronted with the problems and the difficulties one usually reads in the books and journals, or watches on TV. But being there is something else. There is a saying that goes: “when you leave Africa, Africa doesn’t leave you any more”. Robert Aquaron told me about it some years ago, when I still didn’t have the chance to visit Africa. Now, after coming back from Cameroon I can only say: so true!.

Robert Aquaron near Mount Cameroon

Robert Aquaron near Mount Cameroon

Many thanks are due to Robert Aquaron and the rest of his colleagues for having promoted this conference on albinism in Africa.
Lluis Montoliu

The 2nd European Days of Albinism (2EDA) will be held in Valencia (Spain) on 5-6 April 2014

Thursday, January 16th, 2014
The 2nd European Days of Albinism (2EDA) will be held in Valencia (Spain) on 5-6 April 2014

The 2nd European Days of Albinism (2EDA) will be held in Valencia (Spain) on 5-6 April 2014

The European Society for Pigment Cell Research (ESPCR) is pleased to announce the co-sponsorship of the 2nd European Days of Albinism (2EDA), a conference organized by, ALBA, the Spanish Association in support of people with albinism, together with a scientific committee of researchers and physicians interested in albinism: Benoît Arveiler (Bordeaux, France), Karen Grønskov (Coppenhagen, Denmark), Barbara Käsmann-Kellner (Homburg, Germany), Vittoria Schiaffino (Milan, Italy) and Lluís Montoliu (Madrid, Spain).

At the 2EDA conference researchers, interested in albinism, will gather with patients and their associations, in order to discuss, in parallel, both scientific and social aspects of albinism, exchanging ideas, projects and initiatives, at the European level, with the collaboration of a number of international experts in the field. This 2EDA meeting, organized by ALBA, the Spanish Association in support of people with albinism, follows a previous successful edition, 1EDA, organized by Genespoir, the French Association in support of people with albinism, in Paris in October 2012, also co-sponsored by the ESPCR. The 2EDA meeting is planned over a weekend, 5-6 April 2014, to allow the participation of patients and their families. On the first day (Saturday, 5 April) scientists and members of the associations will meet separately and discuss their own topics and agendas. On the second day (Sunday, 6 April), first half of the morning is devoted to continue the concurrent sessions and, eventually, both scientists and members of the associations will gather together and summarize the topics discussed and the conclusions/recommendations achieved before all delegates. The aim of this conference series is to promote awareness of albinism, to trigger collaborative research projects on albinism, and to facilitate collaborative efforts between the different associations in support of people with albinism existing in Europe and represented at this meeting.

At the 2EDA conference, the invited speakers that have kindly confirmed their attendance, a number of them also members of the IFPCS,  include:

  • Robert Aquaron (Marseille, France)
  • Esteban Dell’Angelica (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
  • Benoît Arveiler (Bordeaux, France)
  • Murray Brilliant (Marshfield, WI, USA)
  • José Carlos García-Borrón (Murcia, Spain)
  • Maria van Genderen (Zeist, The Netherlands)
  • Karen Grønskov (Coppenhagen, Denmark)
  • Michael Hoffmann (Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Barbara Käsmann-Kellner (Homburg, Germany)
  • Herbert Kirchesch (Pulheim, Germany)
  • Valeria Marigo (Modena, Italy)
  • Lucia Mauri (Milan, Italy)
  • Lluís Montoliu (Madrid, Spain)
  • Fanny Morice-Picard (Bordeaux, France)
  • Frank Proudlock (Leicester, UK)
  • Alexandra Rebsam (Paris, France)
  • Vittoria Schiaffino (Milan, Italy)
  • Alain Taïeb (Bordeaux, France)
  • Pedro de la Villa (Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain)

Registration at reduced fees will be possible until 15 February, and thereafter, standard registration fees will apply, until 15 March: registration deadline.

For those of you with interest in any aspect related to albinism, thanks for registering and looking forward to meeting you all in the beautiful city of Valencia!

Lluis Montoliu

18th ESPCR Meeting (ESPCR2013) – Lisbon (Portugal) – 9-12 September 2013

Saturday, December 8th, 2012
18th ESPCR Meeting (ESPCR2013) - Lisbon (Portugal) - 9-12 September 2013

18th ESPCR Meeting (ESPCR2013) - Lisbon (Portugal) - 9-12 September 2013

At the European Society for Pigment Cell Research (ESPCR), it is our pleasure to launch the first announcement of the 18th ESPCR meeting (ESPCR2013), which will be held in Lisbon (Portugal) on 9-12 September 2013. The ESPCR2013 meeting is organized by Prof. Miguel Seabra (CEDOC, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal), Dr. Graça Raposo (Institut Curie, Paris, France) and Dr. Duarte Barral (CEDOC, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal). The ESPCR2013 meeting venue will be at the Faculdade de Ciencias Medicas, historical central Lisbon, Portugal.

The Organizing Committee for the ESPCR2013 meeting includes the following scientists: Christine Baldeshi, Evry (FR); Dorothy C. Bennett, London (UK); Corine Bertolotto, Nice (FR); Anja Bosserhoff, Regensburg (DE); Véronique Delmas, Orsay (FR); Claire Futter, London (UK); Colin Goding, Oxford (UK); Valeria Marigo, Modena (IT); Lluis Montoliu, Madrid (ES); Liz Patton, Edinburgh (UK); Mauro Picardo, Rome (IT).

The main topics of the ESPCR2013 meeting will include:

  • cell biology of pigment cells
  • pigment cells in the eye and associated diseases
  • regulation of the pigmentation at the molecular level
  • melanocyte and melanoma stem cells.

Additional information will be published soon at the ESPCR2013 meeting official web page: http://www.espcr.org/ESPCR2013

Any question, comment, suggestion or request of information should be addressed to the ESPCR2013 meeting official email address: espcr2013@espcr.org

A meeting flyer with the first announcement of the 18th ESPCR meeting can be downloaded from here.

1st European Days of Albinism, Paris, France, 27-28 October 2012, organized by Genespoir

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012
1st European Days of Albinism, Paris, France, 27-28 October 2012, organized by Genespoir

1st European Days of Albinism, Paris, France, 27-28 October 2012, organized by Genespoir

The First European Days of Albinism will take place in Paris on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October 2012, organized by Genespoir, the French Association in support of persons with albinism. This conference will gather representatives of European organizations of people with albinism, doctors and physicians specializing in fields related to albinism and scientists conducting research on albinism. For the first time, these three major actors of the European world of albinism will have the opportunity to meet, exchange and discuss potential future collaborations. This conference should allow the development of a European plan of action to help people with albinism. It should lead to:
 
•Developing programs that explain albinism to the general public
•Building a scientific and medical state of the art of albinism
•Improving clinical and molecular diagnosis
•Supporting therapy development programs
 
Conference place: “Plateforme maladies rares“, Hôpital Broussais, 96 rue Didot, 75014 Paris.
 
Organizing commitee: Genespoir, French organization of albinism
 
Scientific committee:

Robert Aquaron, Marseille, France
Benoît Arveiler, Bordeaux, France
Glenn Jeffery, London, UK
Barbara Käsmann-Kelner, Homburg, Germany
Lluis Montoliu, Madrid, Spain
Maria-Vittoria Schiaffino, Milan, Italy
Alain Taïeb, Bordeaux, France 
  
Contact address: conference@genespoir.org

In addition to the indicated researchers, from the scientific committee, it is confirmed the attendance as invited speakers of Enrico Surace (TIGEM, Naples, Italy) and Brian Brooks (NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA), responsible of the two pioneer experimental therapeutic attempts to potentially treat some types of albinism.

Don’t miss this opportunity to visit Paris to discuss about albinism!

Melanins and Melanosomes, edited by J. Borovansky and P.A. Riley, Wiley-2011.

Saturday, July 9th, 2011
Melanins and Melanomes, Borovansky & Riley (eds.), Wiley 2011

Melanins and Melanomes, Borovansky & Riley (eds.), Wiley 2011

A new book has been published on Pigment Cell Biology. The book is entitled “Melanins and Melanosomes: Biosynthesis, Biogenesis, Physiological, and Pathological Functions“, has been edited by Jan Borovansky and Patrick A. Riley, and published by Wiley (2011). Both Patrick Riley and Jan Borovanskly are ESPCR Honorary members. The chapters have been prepared by world-known experts in the field of Pigment Cell Biology, most of them are members of the IFPCS, through any of its affiliated sister societies.

Table of contents:

  • Chapter 1: History of Melanosome Research (Jan Borovansky).
  • Chapter 2: Classical and Nonclassical Melanocytes in Vertebrates (Sophie Colombo, Irina Berlin, Veronique Delmas, and Lionel Larue).
  • Chapter 3: Biological Chemistry of o-Quinones (Patrick A. Riley, Christopher A. Ramsden, and Edward J. Land).
  • Chapter 4: Biosynthesis of Melanins (Jose Carlos Garcia-Borron and M. Concepcion Olivares Sanchez).
  • Chapter 5: Inhibitors and Enhancers of Melanogenesis (Alain Taieb, Muriel Cario-Andre, Stefania Briganti, and Mauro Picardo).
  • Chapter 6: Structure of Melanins (Shosuke Ito, Kazumasa Wakamatsu, Marco d’Ischia, Alessandra Napolitano, and Alessandro Pezzella).
  • Chapter 7: Properties and Functions of Ocular Melanins and Melanosomes (Małgorzata Rozanowska).
  • Chapter 8: Biological Role of Neuromelanin in the Human Brain and Its Importance in Parkinson’s Disease (Kay L. Double, Wakako Maruyama, Makoko Naoi, Manfred Gerlach, and Peter Riederer).
  • Chapter 9: Biogenesis of Melanosomes (Cedric Delevoye, Francesca Giordano, Michael S. Marks, and Graca Raposo).
  • Chapter 10: Transport and Distribution of Melanosomes (Mireille Van Gele and Jo Lambert).
  • Chapter 11: Genetics of Melanosome Structure and Function (Vincent J. Hearing).
  • Chapter 12: Physiological and Pathological Functions of Melanosomes (Jan Borovansky and Patrick A. Riley).
  • Chapter 13: Dysplastic Nevi as Precursor Melanoma Lesions (Stanislav Pavel, Nico P.M. Smit, and Karel Pizinger).

IFPCS Members are entitled to a 25% discount on books published by Wiley

New ESPCR Bulletin published, nº 69 (April 2011)

Friday, April 8th, 2011
New ESPCR Bulletin published, nº 69 (April 2011)

New ESPCR Bulletin published, nº 69 (April 2011)

H.S. Raper Medal at IPCC2011 awarded to Prof. Marco d’Ischia

Saturday, February 12th, 2011
Prof. Marco d'Ischia at the ESPCR 2010 meeting in Cambridge (UK)

Prof. Marco d'Ischia at the ESPCR 2010 meeting in Cambridge (UK)

On behalf of the President of the International Federation of Pigment Cell Societies (IFPCS), Prof. Shigeki Shibahara, the President of the European Society for Pigment Cell Research (ESPCR), Prof. Lionel Larue, and of the ESPCR Awards Committee, it is my pleasure to announce and congratulate the next H. S. Raper Medal awardee: Prof. Marco d’Ischia (University Federico II, Naples, Italy).

The H.S. Raper Medal is an Award selected by the ESPCR as an international recognition of outstanding contributions to the biochemistry and molecular biology of pigmentation. At the time of the official banquet of the forthcoming XXIst IPCC2011 (September 24-26, 2011; Bordeaux, France), the IFPCS President will present the H.S. Raper Medal to the Awardee. The H.S. Raper Medal was instituted by the ESPCR to perpetuate the memory of Prof. Henry Stanley Raper, for his pioneer contributions to the field of biochemistry of melanins and its precursors. The list of previous H.S. Raper Medallists include: Profs. John Pawelek (1993), Giuseppe Prota (1996), Kowichi Jimbow (1999), Anthony Thody (2002), Sho Ito (2005) and José Carlos García-Borrón (2008).

Prof. Marco d’Ischia leads the group of Bioactive and Bio-inspired Product Chemistry at the Department of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of Naples University Federico II. He has published  some 200 publications in the fields of organic and bioorganic chemistry and biochemistry, on peer-reviewed international journals but also reviews and book chapters, including more than 45 papers on melanin-related topics. Currently, Prof. Marco d’Ischia is the promoter and scientific coordinator of EuMelaNet, an interest group/research network within ESPCR constituted in 2009, with the aim of promoting research on melanins and melanogenesis at multidisciplinary level and offering their collective knowledge and expertise to meet the growing demand for new bio-based materials on the part of companies and health institutions.

New ESPCR Bulletin published (n. 65, December 2009)

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
ESPCR Bulletin n. 65 (December 2009)

ESPCR Bulletin n. 65 (December 2009)

A new issue of the ESPCR Bulletin (number 65, December 2009) has been published. This ESPCR Bulletin can be browsed through the members-only section. ESPCR Members will require a valid username and password to access.

EuMelaNet

Sunday, December 13th, 2009
EuMelaNet

EuMelaNet

EuMelaNet stands for European Network for Melanin Research. EuMelaNet is a new Interest Group born within the European Society of Pigment Cell Research. Realizing the increasing interest in melanins and related biopolymers in Europe and several countries all over the world, in 2009 during the XV ESPCR meeting, held in Muenster, a number of researchers from academic and research institutions decided to implement a research network, the European Network for Melanin Research (EuMelaNet), with the aim of promoting research on melanins and melanogenesis at multidisciplinary level and offering their collective knowledge and expertise to meet the growing demand for new bio-based materials on the part of companies and health institutions.

The scientific coordinator of EuMelaNet is Prof. Marco d’Ischia (Department of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy). Those interested might contact EuMelaNet by sending an email message to eumelanet@espcr.org or by visiting the “contact us” web page.