The Pan-Asian Consortium for Treatment and Research in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (PACTALS) was established in December 2014 as a research consortium for ALS in the Asian-Pacific region. Since then, the PACTALS members have been eagerly working on promoting research collaborations in the region. The PACTALS meeting has been held annually as the satellite meeting of other neurology congress.
Following the success of the PACTALS 2018 meeting in Seoul (President: Prof. Seung H. Kim), which was the first stand-alone meeting, the PACTALS 2020 meeting was scheduled to be held in Nagoya, Japan in September 2020. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemics, it had to be postponed, and subsequently held as PACTALS 2021 on the web. Thanks to the web-based format, we had more than 1100 participants registered for the event. This helped to expand the PACTALS community.
PACTALS 2023 will be the third meeting to be held as stand-alone. The local convenors are Professor Nortina Shahrizaila and A/Professor Rabani Remli from Malaysia, and the meeting will be held on September 14–16, 2023, in Kuala Lumpur. The meeting is a gathering of researchers, physicians, health professionals, students, and members of ALS patient groups in Asia, Oceania, and other regions.
In the Asian region, the genetic background is different from that in Europe and the United States. Differences in the composition of the causative genes of hereditary ALS and the differences in the genetic background that influences the phenotype of ALS are observed. In addition, the social and medical environment surrounding ALS patients is not the same as Europe and the United States, and it is important to consider the ALS characteristics and the status of medical care in the Asian region on an individual basis.
In recent years, a very active therapeutic development and several clinical trials have been conducted for ALS in the Asia-Oceania region. In addition, many advanced research and development activities, such as iPS cell drug discovery, stem cell therapy, robotic rehabilitation, and nucleic acid drug development have been conducted. Furthermore, various clinical studies and efforts have become impressively active, such as multidisciplinary care teams, research to clarify the clinical and genetic background of ALS patients, improvement of local medical care, and efforts by patient associations.
We believe PACTALS 2023 will be a unique and important opportunity to discuss these issues comprehensively and exchange information. Moreover, this meeting, which will be held on site for the first time in many years of the COVID19 pandemic, will be a chance to meet and discuss with old friends and co-researchers in person. We hope many of you will attend PACTALS 2023 and we envision a great success.