Young GP meets clinical investigator of Natalizumab at Annual Meeting 2018

A young general practitioner, Sofie van Nues, with a history of Multiple Sclerosis, met with clinical inventor of Natalizumab, Prof. Larry Steinman at 2018 Amsterdam Neuroscience Annual Meeting  at Johan Cruijff Arena on October 5, 2018. The meeting with over 500 of registrants, as a whole, was well attended and perceived by many as outstanding in what has become an annual tradition by now. As Larry Steinman put it later-on by email: “The Amsterdam Neuroscience meeting was exceptional, and I shall share my perceptions with the Neuroscience team at Stanford.  We ought to aspire to organize this type of meeting featuring the outstanding students, and asking them to share their progress with the entire community. The students were truly outstanding.  I appreciate that they were advised and drilled by their mentors, but they are going to be the "future" in neuroscience.”

Mrs. Sofie van Nues shown here on the left in the picture, and who successfully completed here medical studies and training to become GP despite suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, has been meeting with the inventor of Natalizumab, Prof. Larry Steinman (middle) and was interviewed on stage by Prof. Joep Killestein (right in picture). During a 30-minute session which was at times breathtaking Joep Killestein interrogated Sofie van Nues on her experience and storytelling being both an MD and a patient. As Larry put it later-on: “Her interview with Joep Killestein was gripping and she told her story with grace.  She educated me and hundreds of others. I was inspired even after four decades of being a neurologist.”

Steinman who featured as this year’s Swammerdam Key Note Speaker is well known for his efforts during four decades at Stanford, which have included the discovery and subsequent development of a monoclonal antibody to block homing to the inflamed brain, leading to Natalizumab, an approved therapeutic for two autoimmune diseases: relapsing-remitting MS and for inflammatory bowel disease. After his Swammerdam lecture, Dr. Brigit de Jong currently working at Amsterdam UCM – but previously with Larry Steinman at Stanford in California when she did a postdoc – acted as master of ceremony and collected questions from the audience and also took us back in a 25 minute interview with Larry Steinman on stage to the early days of the discovery of Natalizumab.

Dr. Killestein who has been treating Sofie for over ten years until now, after the interview with Sofie van Nues, discussed in front of hundreds of young investigators and students attending the meeting, her patient history and in particular several important aspects of efficacy, risks and reasons for switching medication. The careful process of ‘shared decision making’ where neurologist and patient team up in taking therapy decisions and titration schemes of immunotherapy-interventions lately applied under Killestein’s supervision at the department of Neurology of Amsterdam UMC were elegantly discussed and outlined on stage during his Perspective Lecture. Sofie van Nues is currently doing well and was – without doubt - the ‘hero of the meeting’, according to Diederik van de Beek and Arjen Brussaard, directors of Amsterdam Neuroscience.