Mission & Objectives
There has been a tremendous increase in the number of immunocompromised patients in modern medicine over the last 3 decades. This is probably due to remarkable therapeutic progresses, being able to keep alive and in better shape patients with bad prognosis not long ago. This has been often obtained through the impairment of defence mechanism and the manipulation of the immune system. Nowadays, patients with haematological malignancies and undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) or Solid Organ Transplantation (SOT) are at risk of a variety of opportunistic bacterial, fungal and viral infections. In addition, recent research developments in the therapy of autoinflammatory diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases) with anti-TNF and other biological agents have created another group of patients with specific immunological defects which render them susceptible to unusual infections, like, for example, disseminated tuberculosis. Almost all infections are difficult to diagnose and treat, with high rates of mortality and morbidity. Several unanswered questions remain, which include, but are not limited to, changing epidemiology of infecting agents, development of resistance, need to optimize therapies, availability of more effective diagnostic procedures, new risk assessment strategies and new treatment strategies on time to start and time to cease antimicrobial therapy. Finally, opportunistic infections remain an important clinical problems in the HIV-positive population as well, especially among AIDS-presenters. This is a challenging problem for all infectious disease specialists, and not only for those dealing strictly with HIV.
Therefore the aims of the Study Group are:
- producing data on the epidemiology of infections in immunocompromised hosts and SOT recipients, including bacterial resistance, emerging pathogens, viral and protozoan infections
- implementing interventional trials with translational purposes
- providing a multidisciplinary platform for research, discussion and education on infections in immunocompromised hosts and SOT recipients, to define standards for diagnosing and treating opportunistic infections (i.e. producing clinical guidelines)
- promoting awareness among the scientific community about epidemiology, prophylaxis, diagnosis and treatment of opportunistic infections in immunocompromised patients (e.g. organizing postgraduate education courses, scientific sessions in congresses)
- cooperating with other international organizations in multidisciplinary initiatives