Alice Goodman

June 07, 2013

MADRID, Spain — Second-year results of AMPLE, the head-to-head biologics trial, will be released next week at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Congress 2013.

"Head-to-head studies of the biologics are important and rarely conducted," Professor Ulf Müller-Ladner, chair of the Abstract Committee, told Medscape Medical News.

"Advances with new therapeutic medications will be presented," he said, "and these include the licensing of Benlysta for lupus and tofacitinib for rheumatoid arthritis. Other presentations will explore the greater-than-10-year follow-up on the safety and efficacy of TNF [tumor necrosis factor]-alpha inhibitors.

More than 14,000 delegates from 110 countries around the world are anticipated to attend. They will hear new research describing the link between childbirth and rheumatoid arthritis and new findings on how best to discontinue corticosteroids in children.

"Biosimilars are on the verge of being licensed in Europe, and there will be discussions about infliximab and rituximab — the 2 most prominent ones," said Dr. Müller-Ladner, from Justus Libig University in Giessen, Germany.

The scientific program committee accepted 3872 abstracts and 17 late-breakers from the abstracts submitted. The committee then selects those with the highest interest to the rheumatology community and the public for news conferences.

These abstracts represent the quality of scientific research presented at the meeting, Christopher Buckley, DPhil, chair of the Scientific Program, told Medscape Medical News. The studies selected this year cover a range of rheumatic diseases, he noted, including rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, giant cell arteritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Biosimilars are on the verge of being licensed in Europe, and there will be discussions about infliximab and rituximab. Dr. Ulf Müller-Ladner

The investigator-led news conferences will address the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in patients at high risk for adverse events and the effect of nurse-led programs on patient outcomes, said Dr. Buckley, from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

Among the top 10 best to be presented — many heralded to be award-winning studies — are new animal models in systemic sclerosis, systemic vascular disease, and lung fibrosis.

Reflecting the growing relevance of the meeting to the field of rheumatology, attendance has increased by 77% since 2001. EULAR 2013 is shaping up to be a banner year for attendance and the biggest rheumatology event in Europe.

Activities include What Is New (WIN) and How to Treat (HOT) updates. This year's meeting will keep pace with technology, and attendees can download a free mobile app of the scientific program, information on the sessions, full texts of the lectures and abstracts, and an itinerary planner for developing a personalized conference schedule.

"EULAR 2013 is the setting for the launch of Vision 2020, a strategy that encompasses 7 objectives relating to research, education, advocacy, and standards of care," Dr. Buckley added. "Vision 2020 will guide EULAR programs, activities, and strategies in the coming years to reduce the burden of rheumatic diseases and improve treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation."

European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Congress 2013. June 12-15, 2013.


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