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Topic: General hepatology

Organised by: EASL

Location: Florence, Italy

Meeting Type: EASL meetings

16 March 2020

Given the ongoing developments with COVID-19, EASL has postponed the EASL monothematic on Biliary Fibrosis that was scheduled for 15-16 May 2020 in Florence, Italy.

Having reviewed the situation, and after taking extensive advice, we have decided on a postponement to a later date in 2021, most likely still in the same venue*.

Our priority is the safety and well-being of delegates, and therefore we will be monitoring the situation closely to ensure that it remains a safe and appropriate time to hold the event.

Delegate registrations will remain valid, but if individuals are not able or do not wish to attend, we will provide a full refund of registration fees.

In the meantime, our thoughts and wishes remain with patients and healthcare professionals affected across the world as the public health response to COVID-19 continues.

*The date and venue of the event for 2021 will be communicated.


The pathophysiology of the biliary tree and its epithelium continues to attract strong interest. In fact, cholangiopathies (diseases of the biliary tree) represent an important cause of morbidity and mortality, and a relevant indication for liver transplantation in both the pediatric and adult population. All these diseases progress because of the deposition of fibrosis in the portal space, leading to the characteristic portal-portal septa and biliary cirrhosis.

The meeting will provide a state of the art review of recent advances on biliary fibrosis and cholangiopathies, with particular emphasis on pathophysiology, unmet clinical question, pathophysiology, and treatment opportunities.  In addition, the STC will define and reconcile current areas of controversy, delineate future avenues of research and highlight translational opportunities (novel therapies).

Scientific organising committee

Massimo-PinzaniProf. Massimo Pinzani, United Kingdom

Strazzabosco-MarioProf. Mario Strazzabosco, United States

Welcome message from the organisers

Dear Colleagues,

The first EASL conference on this topic was in fact held here, in Florence almost 20 years ago. At that time, we knew very little of the pathophysiology of the biliary tree, and of the mechanisms modulating portal and biliary fibrosis. We knew that biliary fibrosis was the main mechanism of progression of chronic cholangiopathies and that the extent of fibrosis correlated with the so called ductular reaction; we also knew that in the course of chronic liver diseases, a population of cholangiocyte-like reactive cells emerged and was associated with the repair mechanisms.

Valery Desmet had brilliantly understood that the “Ductular reaction” was indeed the “pacemaker” of biliary fibrosis, but the concept was still not widely accepted by the of liver research community. The 2001 EASL conference stimulated the interest of many researchers and this weekend, again in Florence, we will review our new understanding of this fundamental process of liver repair and disease progression.

The correlation between ductular reaction and fibrosis is now demonstrated, and we know much more about the morphogenetic transcription factors that orchestrate the reparative response to chronic biliary damage; we know more about the signals that are generated by biliary mesenchymal, inflammatory and endothelial cells, and biliary stem cells, while the wounded epithelium masterminds the tissue response. The biliary epithelium is not an innocent bystander of portal inflammation, but it is pivotal in generating an inflammatory response, using innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. The histogenesis and of the different cell types and the role of biliary stem cells is also becoming more clear, along with the impact of the intestinal microbiome. All these new concepts will be covered by our excellent speakers, selected among those who made these observations.

Much of this improved understanding derives from studies on biliary atresia or on rare genetic cholangiopathies, such as Alagille Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis, polycystic Liver Disease, progressive intrahepatic cholestasis. Their pathophysiology and clinical aspects along with and their relevance for an understanding of acquired cholangiopathies, such as PBC and PSC.

At every step the conferences will review the translational aspects of the findings. It is and it is our expectation that the conference will set the stage for novel therapeutic developments.

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Why attend?

  • The monothematic meeting will present and discuss the latest advances in biliary biology and pathophysiology of the biliary tree, with focus on biliary fibrosis, the main mechanisms of progression of cholangiopathies
  • Learn how epithelial cells, mesenchymal cells, Immune cells and endothelial cells communicate and interact and how morphogenetic signals orchestrate this complex mechanism.
  • These will also be discussed in the light of the pathophysiology congenital/hereditary pediatric cholangiopathies
  • Acquire a forward looking understanding of the of the relevant molecular targets and the pipeline of pharmacologic agents.

Who should attend?

Scientists and physicians from both the academic and industry sectors interested in biliary fibrosis.

Topics to be covered

  • Update on the pathobiology of biliary diseases
  • Update on the mechanisms of biliary fibrosis
  • Role of morphogenetic signals and cellular cross-talk
  • Role of nuclear receptors and effects of their modulation
  • Biomarkers of disease progression in chronic biliary diseases.
  • New experimental models and novel molecular approaches to the treatment of cholangiopathies


Event accreditation

The Biliary fibrosis: Pathophysiology and translational opportunities, Florence, Italy, 15/05/2020- 16/05/2020 has been accredited by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME®) with 11 European CME credits (ECMEC®s). Each medical specialist should claim only those hours of credit that he/she actually spent in the educational activity.

Through an agreement between the Union Européenne des Médecins Spécialistes and the American Medical Association, physicians may convert EACCME® credits to an equivalent number of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Information on the process to convert EACCME® credit to AMA credit can be found at www.ama-assn.org/education/earn-credit-participation-international-activities.
Live educational activities, occurring outside of Canada, recognised by the UEMS-EACCME® for ECMEC®s are deemed to be Accredited Group Learning Activities (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

EACCME® credits

Each participant can only receive the number of credits he/she is entitled to according to his/her actual participation at the event once he/she has completed the feedback form. Cf. criteria 9 and 23 of UEMS 2016.20.

In order to help you issue individual certificates to each participants, please find below the breakdown of ECMEC®s per day:
15.05.2020 – 8.00
16.05.2020 – 3.00

The EACCME® awards ECMEC®s on the basis of 1 ECMEC® for one hour of CME with a maximum of 8 ECMEC®s per day. Cf. Chapter X of UEMS 2016.20.

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