7th ALPS Meeting, Madonna di Campiglio, 25th- 29th January 2012
The 7th annual Alpine Liver and Pancreatic Surgery (ALPS) took place once again in the beautiful resort of Madonna di Campiglio in Italy. During the 19th century, the resort was a spotting place for celebrities such as Princess Sissi and Emperor Franz Joseph. In 2012, the resort continues to be a ‘celebrity hotspot’ boasting a diverse and eminent international HPB faculty.
Over the 4 days of the conference, a packed schedule of talks from trainees and consultants covering all the hot topics in HPB was interspersed with blue, red and black runs on the beautiful slopes. Highlights included the lessons learnt from the first 1000 liver transplants in Edinburgh (Stephen Wigmore, Edinburgh) which was followed by talks outlining possible future innovation and directions for HPB surgery, including robotic surgery (Ugo Boggi, Pisa) and microwave ablation (David Iannitti, USA). Discussion on the future management of pancreatic cancer (David Tuveson, Cambridge; Claudio Bassi, Verona) particularly sparked lively debate.
Marc Besselink (Amsterdam) picked up the award for the Best Presentation by a young trainee. He was odds on favourite, given his significant contribution to the meeting, giving every other talk for 3 days and rattling up a staggering 57 questions. His seminal work on the use of tenuous acronyms in the field of pancreatic research was eclipsed only by his talk on the Lessons from PROPATRIA, which gave a fascinating insight into the trials and tribulations of clinical research. It still remains unclear how the criteria for “young” were determined, but none the less we are all looking forward to seeing him for the UK leg of his HPB training.
The Clinical Trial “Dragon’s Den” was a popular innovation to close the meeting. Participants had to pitch their idea to a panel in order to secure an imaginary source totalling €500k from a panel of Dragons (Kate Law, Duncan Jodrell, Bill McCulloch and Gareth Griffiths). In a passion-fuelled debate, five pitches ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous battled for the pot of Monopoly money. A steward’s enquiry is still under way after the proposal by Natalie Peel (Edinburgh) was unceremoniously rejected by the panel; she had pitched for funding to use a fruit ripeness monitor in pancreatic surgery.
In between the packed academic programme, the majority of the delegates took the opportunity to blow away the cobwebs on the slopes with varying degrees of elegance. James Richards secured the prize of Most Improved Skier for a blindly following his PhD supervisor down his first-ever black run in a pair of pink goggles, despite limited experience and ability on the slopes. Thankfully this was the first year in which there were no serious injuries and the Best Injury Prize was secured for a non-skiing related, yet near fatal, bruising of at least 2 fingers (John Primrose, Southampton). Anna was again recruited to provide expert tuition and guidance on the slopes.
Merv Rees (Basingstoke) celebrated the award of Best Skier with a moving solo performance on the microphone and dancefloor. This left the delegates awed into silence and sparked off a cacophony of iPhone-assisted karaoke. On the final night, a party of trainees was sent into town to engage the local community on the hot topics in HPB. Despite their fearsome reputation, all were disappointed that the Dutch contingent was not represented in this collaborative excursion. The last day was spent lunching and seeing the sights of Verona, followed by a long day of travelling for all.
Thanks to the entire Organising Committee and Faculty for organising an excellent conference, but specific recognition must go to John Primrose, Elise Patey (Southampton) and James Garden (Edinburgh) for organising and co-ordinating this unique meeting. ALPS provides an excellent forum for trainees and consultants from across the HPB specialties to update themselves on current research and network in an informal environment. We highly recommend this meeting and are already looking forward to ALPS 2013!!
James Richards & Natasha Cascini
6th ALPS Meeting, Madonna di Campiglio, 26th - 30th January 2011
For the 6th year, the beautiful resort of Madonna di Campiglio hosted the Alpine Liver and Pancreatic Surgery meeting from 26th-30th January. This meeting continues to grow annually and there was again this year a high level of lively, informative presentations, followed by informal discussion around current hot topics in HPB surgery. For the first time the meeting was held in collaboration with the Dutch Society for Gastrointestinal surgery. As in previous years, contributions came from distinguished international guests, consultants and numerous trainees. Alongside the offerings from the surgical community we were pleased to be joined by expert speakers from related nonsurgical specialties and from industry.
Professor William Traverso (Idaho) opened the meeting with a discussion about the natural history of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) of the pancreas. As well as discussing the basic science of this disease process, and the treatment of it, his talk also included some fascinating endoscopic images of IPMN in the pancreatic duct. Later in the programme Professor Traverso discussed the importance of nonoperative alongside operative treatment of pancreatic cancer and the recipe for a perfect Whipples...READ MORE
5th ALPS Meeting, Madonna di Campiglio, 27th - 31st January 2010
Surgeons from Europe and across the world retreated to the village of Madonna di Campiglio in the Italian Dolomites for the 5th Alpine Liver and Pancreatic Surgery (ALPS) meeting. This gathering constituted a forum for updates and subsequent discussion of pertinent topics, ranging from the basic science that underpins hepatobiliary and pancreatic disease, to advances in surgical technique and adjuvant treatment.
Professor Yuji Nimura (Nagoya University Hospital, Japan), the current president of the IHPBA, opened the meeting with a superb lecture on advanced resectional techniques for challenging cases of hilar cholangiocarcinoma. With several lectures and video presentations over the course of the meeting, Professor Nimura conveyed the importance of advanced, multi-modality imaging as a pre-requisite for designing resections of both biliary and liver malignancies, and shared his vast experience and expertise in this field... READ MORE