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Research goes on! PAPAartis meets virtually to discuss progress and plans.

The PAPAartis consortium met last Friday (6th November) to discuss the progress of the project to date and plans for the immediate future.

The meeting, which was held virtually, was chaired by PAPAartis co-ordinator Prof. Christian Etz (University of Leipzig). Prof. Etz extended a special welcome to EC project officer Dr. Laura García Ibáñez and Data Safety and Monitoring Board members Prof. Jean Bachet, Prof. Volker Dietz and Prof. Werner Brannath.

Dr. Katja Piotrowski (University of Leipzig) updated the group on the opening of trial sites. In recent months centres in Bordeaux, Paris, Örebro, Maastricht and Tübingen have opened; and a centre in Bologna is expected to be open by the end of the year. This means that 23 of the 27 planned sites are now open, or will open shortly, for patient recruitment.

Dr. David Petroff (Clinical Trial Centre, Leipzig) discussed patient recruitment figures to date. As may be expected, all sites have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, progress is being made and recruitment numbers are picking up sharply as more sites come on board. The group had a detailed discussion of ways to further improve recruitment.

Prof. Lars Lönn and Dr. Mikkel Taudorf (University of Copenhagen) gave an update on their work on the project. The role of the University of Copenhagen in PAPAartis is to carry out an independent radiological evaluation of the medical images collected by the trial sites to ensure uniformity of results across all the sites. Prof. Lönn and Dr. Taudorf explained their protocol for image collection and labelling.

Dr. Johann Pelz (University of Leipzig) discussed the neurological assessments that will be carried out as part of the trial. A number of assessment methods will be used and developing online training in these is currently being considered. It was felt that the data gathered from these assessments will add greatly to the value of the project, improving understanding of the interactions between the neurological and vascular aspects.

The meeting concluded with a general discussion of progress and matters arising. This session was chaired by Prof. Nimesh Desai from University of Pennsylvania (USA). Prof. Desai gave feedback from his external perspective and praised the work of the project emphasizing that it is providing critical data to understand safety aspects related to aortic surgery and is generating a unique and world-leading knowledge base in this regard.


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