by Antonio Farina, Florence, Italy
I am pleased to report on the fantastic twelve-month EAN Research Fellowship that I spent in the French reference centre of paraneoplastic neurological syndromes and autoimmune encephalitis in Lyon under the supervision of Professor Honnorat.
As a neurologist and PhD student at the University of Florence in Italy, I developed a particular interest in the neurotoxicity of cancer immunotherapy, and especially in the neurological immune-related adverse events (n-irAEs) of immune checkpoint inhibitors. My fellowship in Lyon was a great opportunity to complete my training in this topic, by visiting patients in inpatient and outpatient clinics as well as discussing clinical cases in multidisciplinary consultation meetings at national level.
During my stay in Lyon, I was mainly involved in clinical research projects which aimed to better characterise the n-irAEs and study their outcomes. Working on these projects not only allowed me to consolidate my skills in scientific research methodology but also gave interesting results, some of which have already been published or have been submitted to journals with high impact factors.
I also attended the neuro-oncology service of the Lyon University Hospitals, and I was very impressed by the variety of rare autoimmune neurological disorders that I was able to observe during my clinical activities. In addition, I actively participated in laboratory activities and acquired new skills to perform neural antibody testing using in-house methods such as tissue-based immunofluorescence assays and cell-based assays.
Professor Honnorat and his team were very welcoming and extremely supportive in sharing their knowledge and supervising my work.
I am truly grateful to the EAN who made it possible for me to have this deeply formative experience and to spend twelve months in a beautiful and dynamic city like Lyon.