Southeast Asia Therapeutic Plasma Exchange Consortium (SEATPEC) for Neurological Disorders
Who are we?
The Southeast Asian Therapeutic Plasma Exchange Consortium (SEATPEC) is a regional non-profit working group consisting of expert clinicians, researchers, and other healthcare providers from South East Asia (SEA) to establish a regional collaborative effort to improve the standard of treatment for various central and peripheral autoimmune neurological diseases throughout Southeast Asia with regard to Therapeutic Plasma Exchange (TPE).
The last few years have witnessed an increase in regional collaboration to enhance the delivery of a high standard of treatment and improved quality of care for autoimmune neurological diseases. The same has occurred partly as a result of improved understanding of the pathophysiology of various immune-mediated diseases, thus increasing recognition of these specific immune-mediated conditions and disease burden. More importantly, with the increasing number of neurologists with interests in neuroimmunological disorders and the use of TPE, there was an unmet need for a regional platform to develop a working plan to improve the awareness, delivery of care and provision of services especially TPE to patients with these disorders.
The idea of SEATPEC was put forward in 2017 by a Consultant Neurologist, Dr Shanthi Viswanathan (Malaysia) following the successful organisation of the 2nd regional plasmapheresis conference and workshop for SEA in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Many like minded neurologists from Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmmar, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and the Phillipines expressed their interest to be part of the endeavour and move the initiative within the region. The idea was inspired by other neurological subspeciality subchapters under the Malaysian Society of Neuroscience (MSN) and similar international establishments like the Japanese Society for Apheresis (JSFA) and International Society for Apheresis (ISFA) as regionally at that time there was no specific platform to gather interested neurologists from around the region to discuss the use of TPE in the treatment of autoimmune neurological disorders.
The inaugural meeting was to identify the challenges in the management of various autoimmune neurological disease commonly encountered in the region and to gather insights on disease spectrum, contextual practice challenges, and the need for a regional TPE consensus. There was favourable interest in developing a working plan contextualised to this region. Strategies to overcome challenges were discussed.
Following the first meeting, the 2nd SEATPEC meeting was successfully held in Yangon, Myanmar on the 20th September 2019 in conjunction with the 13th Biennial Convention of the ASEAN Neurological Association meeting (ASNA). It was attended by representatives from SEA countries (Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). At this meeting support for the establishment of this endeavour was also garnered by ASNA.
Following its establishment, SEATPEC events were endorsed by the Malaysian Society of Neuroscience (MSN) and ASNA. We have also engaged a similar working relationship with various national level neurological societies within the region.
What we do?
Following the 2nd SEATPEC meeting, various projects are in place for SEATPEC. Among them are:
- Consensus on use of TPE in autoimmune neurological disorders for SEA region
- Autoimmune Antibody testing for neurological diseases
- Affiliation to international apheresis organisations and regional neurological organizations
- Produce educational materials for patients in this region
- Create more robust research collaborations among member countries
Recent activities of SEATPEC
Asia Pacific Clinical Expert Meeting on Therapeutic Plasma Exchange in the Management of Refractory Central and Peripheral Nervous System Diseases, 23rd Sep’20
In the spotlight
- Launching of Consensus Recommendation on the Use of Therapeutic Plasma Exchange (TPE) for Adult Neurological Diseases in Southeast Asia (SEA)
- Survey on Impact of Therapeutic Plasma Exchange services in SEA during COVID-19 Pandemic
- Role of TPE in management of COVID-19
- Workshop on ‘Peripheral Vascular Access’ in TPE
Conclusion: With these endeavours, the committee hopes to move forwards with other local and regional activities on disease-specific treatments and the incorporation of effective and safe TPE for all patients fulfilling the criteria or who may benefit from TPE treatment.
- 1. Viswanathan S et al., Proceedings of the Inaugural Strategy Meeting for the Establishment of a Southeast Asia Regional Therapeutic Plasma Exchange Consortium for Neurological Disorders. Ther Apher Dial. 2019 Jun;23(3):289-297. DOI: 10.1111/1744-9987.12806. Epub 2019 21st May. PMID: 30927331.
- 2. Viswanathan S et al., Second regional plasmapheresis conference and workshop for Southeast Asia (SEA) on the immunomodulatory role of plasma exchange in central and peripheral nervous system disorders, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 9th December 2017. J Clin Apher. 2018 Oct;33(5):559-568. DOI: 10.1002/jca.21630. Epub 2018 6th April. PMID: 29626354.