Light Minutes of the 12th Symposium of the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum which was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, in Mid-September 1978
GEOFFREY B. WEST
In temperatures well into the nineties, the symposium opened at the Royal Sonesta Hotel with a welcoming reception on Sunday evening. It was great to see so many American friends in our group which had a total of 143 active participants and 40 social members.
We were all up early (by 8.30) on Monday to hear Dr. Eisen of M.I.T. Boston giving the 4th Carl Pransnitz Memorial Lecture. This was of top quality and maintained the high tradition of Coombs, Westphal, and Mayer. When the regular sessions started, we heard all about IgE responses and everyone talked about the importance of B and T cells. Sayings of the morning included:
After lunch, (when many tried out the super swimming facilities), someone altered the seating arrangement and said it was more intimate. In this session, much was talked about concerning "Allergic Breakthroughs" and "Normal Damping of Activation". We wonder what abnormal damping means? The highlight of Monday afternoon was provided by member Sehon who kicked the bucket of water over and then said it didn’t matter. The point was also made of Americans ignoring European results reported 20 years ago! The boat trip in the Cotton Blossom paddle boat on the Mississippi in the evening was great, with unlimited supplies of shrimps and beer.
On Tuesday, there were sessions on models of asthma and on SRS importance. Involvement of cyclic nucleotides and PG were mentioned for the first time, and a new biologic activity of histamine was presented - lymphocytes stimulated by histamine to release peptides. During this session, we learned that PAF release is so important. The author said "it’s a very very important subject because I worked on it". This author went on - "Quite good and reasonable amounts of PAF were released". In the afternoon, computerisation of the SRS assay was put forward but the dose-response, computerisation of the SRS assay was put forward but the dose-response curves had points with very wide S.E.M. so that they all overlapped. Later, one guy said "If you can take indomethacin tablets, you can eat anything" and another said "My macrophages became a little bit too tired and failed to react".
Whilst we struggled on at the scientific session, the ladies went on tour to Historic Houmas House, Burnside, LA - a plantation mansion which was very pleasant. Following his usual custom, George Feinberg accompanied the ladies.
The symposium dinner went off as usual. The New Orleans Olympia Jazz Band entertained us, the new members were sworn in, and gifts were given to the local organising committee. Larry Lichtenstein, we noted danced without his shoes, a very dangerous act on the small overcrowded floor.
Wednesday went to basophils and mast cells where a major speaker was heard to say that"" few eosinophil granules had slipped in through the back door and contaminated those basophils". Ionophores were also mentioned and shown to do lots of other things besides the carrying of calcium ions. Stanworth was heard to say he now had the pistol to fire the shot for mast cell release - his new oligopeptide, strangely enough an octapeptide. Another speaker said "This is not my best slide but it’s also not my worst".
The afternoon session on new anti-allergic agents was disappointing although it showed how animal models of allergy are still very crude and unrepresentative. The best paper of all was the last where it was reported that American monkeys sit still much better in front of American television screens - maybe American TV is better for monkeys and not so good for humans.
All in all, the meeting was acclaimed a huge success. Grateful thanks to the organising committee and particularly Drs. Gleich, Lichtenstein and Salvaggio.