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September 12, 2021 3rd DECISION General Assembly Meeting The 3rd DECISION General Assembly Meeting took place in Barcelona, Spain, on 8 – 10 September 2021 and reunited 54 researchers to discuss progress of the DECISION project

BARCELONA—The 3rd DECISION General Assembly Meeting was a three-day event where work package leaders presented major outcomes and milestones of the DECISION project.

As part of the project, training activities were organized at the Gran Hotel Rey Don Jaime in Barcelona, Spain, where the event took place. Eight early-career researchers attended the DECISION Master Class on how to write a scientific paper by Paolo Angeli, Professor at University of Padova, Italy, and Jonel Trebicka, Research Associate at the European Foundation for the Study of Chronic Liver Failure (EF Clif) and Professor at Goethe University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany. Later, Frank Uschner, Resident Physician at Goethe University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany, talked about drug repurposing – the identification of new uses for existing drugs. The first day closed with a keynote lecture by Angeli on new frontiers in clinical management of decompensated cirrhosis and acute-on-liver failure (ACLF).

Pierre-Emmanuel Rautou, Coordinator of DECISION and Professor at Inserm–Université Paris Diderot, France, welcomed all attendees and introduced the main project goals in the opening session on day 2. Throughout the day, work package coordinators leaders presented progress on project tasks and the planning for the next six months. Joan Clària, Research Associate at EF Clif and Professor at Clínic Foundation for Biomedical Research (FCRB), talked about ongoing activities and progress related to WP1 – extensive characterization of decompensation of cirrhosis using modern high-throughput technologies. Cristina Sánchez, Head of the Data Management Center at EF Clif, presented the infrastructure to support data management and data management policies in force related to WP2. Updates on WP3 with regard to patient stratification, development of prognostic and response tests and of new combinatorial therapies for decompensated cirrhosis using systems approaches were presented by David Gomez Cabrero, Head of Translational Bioinformatics Unit at Navarrabiomed, Spain. Later, Itziar de Lecuona, Deputy Director of the Bioethics and Law Observatory at University of Barcelona, Spain, and Isabelle Durand-Zaleski, Professor at University of Paris XII, France, discussed WP6 tasks related to ethical and legal issues, and the impact of project outcomes on healthcare and socioeconomics. Ameli Schwalber, Chief Executive Officer and Dissemination Manager at Concentris, Germany, presented the plan for dissemination, communication and exploitation of results and project outcomes as well as training activities addressed to early-career researchers who want to pursue further their careers in the field of liver research. Schwalber also presented the schedule and financial reporting plans on behalf of Mary Gazea, Project Manager at Concentris, Germany. After a general discussion session, day 2 closed with a poster session.

On day 3, Trebicka presented progress related to WP4 on the selection and validation of combinatorial therapies using preclinical rat models and the development of a prognostic test and response test to combinatorial therapy for patients with acute decompensated cirrhosis. Later, a clinical study meeting with all the DECISION recruiting centers was chaired by Paolo Caraceni, Professor at the University of Bologna, Italy, to discuss on the upcoming COMBAT trial. In parallel, the Scientific and Ethical Advisory Board met to discuss further the progress on DECISION and to prepare the feedback to the consortium.

Finally, during the Poster Award Ceremony, all participants gathered in congratulating the awardees of the 1st edition of the DECISION poster competition. The first prize went to Cristina López-Vicario, Postdoctoral Researcher at FCRB, Spain, for her work on targeted analysis of circulating lipid mediators of inflammation signatures associated with decompensated cirrhosis. Nico Kraus, Predoctoral Researcher at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, received the second prize, and Sara Palomino Echevarría, Predoctoral Researcher at Navarrabiomed, Spain, together with Theresa Wirtz, at University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany, were awarded the third prize.

This study received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 847949.

About DECISION

Decompensated cirrhosis is an advanced form of cirrhosis of the liver associated with development of ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and progression to acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). Despite multiple treatments, mortality in patients with decompensated cirrhosis remains high. The EU-funded DECISION project aims to understand the pathophysiology of decompensated cirrhosis leading to ACLF and to decrease patient mortality. This project will integrate results of high-throughput multiomic profiling with comprehensive clinical data from 2200 fully characterized patients with available standardized biological samples. DECISION will help to identify novel combinatorial therapies to prevent high mortality for patients with decompensated cirrhosis. Combinatorial therapies will be optimized in novel animal models and the best combinations will be tested in patients at high-risk of progressing to ACLF in a phase II clinical trial.

The European Foundation for the Study of Chronic Liver Failure (EF Clif) is a private nonprofit organization which mission is to promote research and education in hepatic chronic failure with the aim to contribute to improving the quality of life and to increase the survival of patients with liver cirrhosis. Since its foundation in 2009, the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) Chair supports research activities through the EASL-Clif Consortium, a network of more than 100 European university hospitals and more than 300 clinical researchers. The Grifols Chair promotes translational studies across centers throughout Europe and North America within the framework of the European Network for Translational Research (ENTR) with 25 centers and more than 40 investigators.

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