Plant sterols and stanols (PS) lower blood cholesterol and have long been recognized as an essential component of cardiovascular risk reduction. In 2011, world experts gathered in Maastricht, Netherlands, to discuss advances in PS research. Participants concluded then that PS should be recommended for use as dietary options to lower serum cholesterol. Since the Maastricht conference in 2011, the science around PS has steadily advanced, particularly with respect to the molecular mechanisms through which PS work, and the subject-specific metabolic and genetic factors that underlie individual cholesterol lowering responses. Furthermore, the field has broadened with the study of novel PS applications beyond cholesterol-lowering including cancer, inflammation, immune function and triglyceride metabolism. Finally, the ongoing controversial debate regarding the potential adverse effects of PS on cardiovascular health has been spurred with new research findings, especially with renewed attention to a special category of patients with impaired plant sterol metabolism and high risk for cardiovascular disease (sitosterolemia patients). The 2016 conference intends to bring together all stakeholders in plant sterol research to present and discuss new findings, define how recent advances in the field impact current health recommendations and identify areas in need of further scientific discovery. Specific objectives include:
1) Increase and disseminate knowledge on plant sterol interactions with human biology and genetics.
2) Reconcile on-going scientific debates, identify areas of future research, and lay the foundation for future PS/Health guidelines
3) Engage minorities, the underserved, patients and caregivers in plant sterol-related research.
To meet these objectives, academic experts teamed up with patients with sitosterolemia, the International Plant Sterols and Stanols Association (IPSSA) and the National Institutes of Health to organize an international conference on plant sterols, health and diseases in the fall of 2016. The conference follows a traditional format with keynote/state-of-the-art lectures, scientific sessions with presentations and discussions, and poster presentations. It is open after registration to everyone interested, without any restriction of age, gender, racial/ethnic background, disability, or social origin. Special support to students and post-doctoral graduates is available through our Travel Award program. The conference will also be webcast, thus allowing individuals who can’t travel to the conference site to participate in the event. We hope you will consider joining us for this exciting event and look forward to seeing you in Winnipeg this fall.
Jean-Baptiste Roullet, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor and Conference Co-Chair
Washington State University, College of Pharmacy