HPS Network partners with the ATS Foundation to fund another cycle of HPS research grants

Thanks to the hard work of our members and donors, the HPS Network will be able to partner again with the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Foundation to fund another HPS research grant. The $40,000 per year runs for two years and is funded half by the HPS Network, and half by the ATS Foundation. The ATS Foundation also gives us valuable support and know-how to collect and manage grant proposals and have them evaluated by scientists to select the awardee.

Historically, these grants have been a fantastic investment for the HPS community. Besides the additional funding, some of the research that has significantly moved HPS research forward got its start through this program. Every researcher we have funded through this program is still researching HPS today.

Building Your Village: HPS Network Webinar

Save the Date!

Aug, 13, 2019 at 8:00 pm ET

There are lots of times when those of us impacted by HPS, whether we are people with HPS or caregivers, need our community support systems. They say it takes a village, and we need our villages to help us along the way. This webinar will provide information about community resources to look for as well as tips for building your own village, or even major metropolitan area, to better navigate living and thriving with HPS.  Come to listen, or share your own experiences.

Instructions on how to log in to the webinar will be available closer to the event. Look for directions on social media.

Funding the HPS Conference Focus Group

Save the Date!

Aug 14, 2019 at 8:00 pm ET

We’ve come a long way. Instead of looking for researchers and hoping they will be interested in HPS, we have some of the world’s leading minds in gene therapy and stem cell research working on HPS. We have promising candidate drugs that will hopefully soon advance to clinical trials. Now, we need to fund the conference. The conference isn’t just informative or fun. It’s the place where our researchers come together to compare notes and find ways to work together. It’s where we, the people with HPS, often give samples for research. It’s the place where we inspire the people we need to help us. And, for many of us, it’s the one place where we know we are not alone living with HPS.

We have spent a LOT of our budget this year to take advantage of research opportunities that came along, thus we are very, very short of funds for the HPS Conference. This webinar will be a focus group to gather ideas about fundraising, to learn what the Network can do to help our community fundraise or to get some practical how-to advice if you’ve got a fundraiser in mind. The more brains the better. Join us and help us create solutions. Stay tuned for details about how to log in closer to the Webinar.

Entries now open for the Rare Artist Awards

The Rare Artist Contest, sponsored by the EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases, is now taking submissions for its annual art contest featuring the work of artists with rare diseases, or their family, caregivers, friends, researchers or medical personnel. There are a variety of categories for kids as well as adults in a wide range of traditional or digital media.

Winners receive cash prizes as well as are invited to speak on Capitol Hill during Rare Disease Week.

To learn more, go to: https://www.rareartist.org/2019-art-contest/

HPS Network visits the Kotton Lab

The HPS Network visited the Kotton Lab in Framingham, Mass in July to learn more about how the lab is using stem cells derived from the blood of people with HPS to find clues to treat the lung disease of HPS. The lab collected blood samples at the HPS Conference two years ago. The Kotton Lab is known the world over for their stem cell work on a variety of lung diseases. While there, the visitors from the HPS Network learned more about induced pluripotent stem cells, the process to coax them to develop into the desired cell type to be studied and how that process helps researchers understand the lung disease of HPS better. They also got to see some of these cells in the microscope!

The HPS team that was able to visit the lab included: Donna and Ashley Appell, Frankie Feliciano and Carmen Camacho.

Dr. Kotton explained that being able to grow new lungs from stem cells, or even repair damaged tissue, is still a long way away now. Still, the lab is learning much more about what may go wrong in the development of various lung cells in people with HPS. This may help researchers identify new therapeutic targets for future therapies.

Theme of 2020 Conference announced

The theme of the 2020 HPS Network Conference will be “Our Vision 2020”. Join us on March 13-15, 2020 at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, NY to learn more about living with HPS, updates on medical research, fellowship with others walking in the same shoes and, well, just a lot of fun! Save the date on your calendar. We will update you further as more plans develop.

Team Brantner outreaches at genetics conference

The Brantner family manned an HPS Network booth at the Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting, April 1-2, 2019 in Seattle. They spoke with people working directly with patients in genetics departments across the country about HPS, how to test for HPS and the services offered by the HPS Network. Kylee Brantner stole the show at the booth as she expertly explained HPS to conference attendees and offered them cookies. (HPS booths typically feature cookies to illustrate the lack of delta dense bodies on HPS platelets.) “Sometimes people would stop by the booth and one of us would start to explain HPS, and they would stop us and ask to hear it from Kylee,” says Kristen Brantner, Kylee’s mom and a board member of the HPS Network. “We actually had some of the conference attendees tweeting us to compliment Kylee on what a great job she did explaining the syndrome,” says Heather Kirkwood, Vice President and Director of Communications of the HPS Network, who manages HPS Network social media and communications. “She really did make an impact on them, and that’s great!”

HPS Awareness and Fundraiser Event in Sparta, NJ

Join the Rodriguez family for their first annual HPS awareness and fundraising event, Aug. 17, in Sparta Township, NJ. The Rodriguez has one-year-old identical twin girls with HPS. Thirty percent of proceeds will go to the HPS Network, and the rest will go toward any current or future medical needs for Brooke and Brielle. The event will have a buffet dinner, DJ and cash bar. Auction baskets will also be at the event. Doors will open at 3:00 pm. To buy tickets or learn more, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/1st-annual-hermansky-pudlak-syndrome-awareness-charity-event-tickets-64232988598

HPS community wishes NHLBI a Happy 50th

Attendees at the 26th Annual HPS Network Conference, held in Uniondale NY in March, created a video to wish the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health a happy 50th anniversary. NHLBI was pleased with the video and plans to use it at various events throughout the year. If you wish to follow the NHLBI through its 50th anniversary year, follow the hashtag #lung50. If you’d like to see the video, go to: https://youtu.be/1C1wwPzdeYY

On April 9th Heather Kirkwood and MaryAnn Canter, two people with HPS that live in the greater Washington DC area, attended a special reception for NHLBI on Capitol Hill. Besides a few congressional representatives and staffers, there were a number of NHLBI employees at the event. NHLBI showed the video at their staff celebration event. “It was really sweet that several of the NHLBI staff that were at that event came up to MaryAnn and I to tell us how much they loved the video,” says Heather Kirkwood, “I think they’ll remember the HPS Network!”

Volunteer to share your HPS experience with medical students


Global Genes and the Rare Compassion project are teaming up to match patients and families affected by a rare disease with medical students eager to understand our lives better. If you would be willing to share your HPS story, the ups and downs and real day-to-day experiences, then this might be an outreach volunteer experience for you!

The project takes applications from patients all year, and matches medical students with patients quarterly based on geographical proximity. Because the number of students and rare disease patients might not always match up, you are not guaranteed to get a match.

If you volunteer to participate, the project will expect you to:

  • Introduce yourself and make regular contact with your student match by phone, e-mail or in-person visits
  • Actively engage with your student and share about your daily life diagnostic journey and medical experiences
  • Take time to ask questions of your student and learn about the challenges and obstacles they face in medical education or in the medical field
  • Work with your student to determine how long your engagement will last
  • Always treat your student with respect and courtesy.

To learn more or apply, go to: GlobalGenes.org/Cox-Scholarship/