Alice Goodman

June 09, 2014

PARIS — Long-term follow-up data on different tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitors and a look at current studies in the up and coming field of biosimilars will be 2 of the highlights here at European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Congress 2014.

"Rheumatologists have used millions of packages of TNF inhibitors for 10 years or more. We now have the chance to answer questions about long-term effects, such as those on cognition and second cancers," said Ulf Müller-Ladner, MD, chair of the Department of Rheumatology at the University of Giessen in Germany and scientific chair of EULAR.

As for biosimilars, "everyone is watching this," Dr. Müller-Ladner told Medscape Medical News. "Studies are looking at whether biosimilars have the same activity and adverse effects as biologics."

The more than 3000 abstracts that will be presented represent the best research in the field of rheumatology, he added.

Other topics that will be discussed include newly described entities clustered under the rubric of immunoglobulin (IGG)-4 diseases and new research on gout.

As well, a series of abstracts will address questions on interleukin (IL)-17, which is driving more inflammatory diseases than previously assumed. The role of IL-17 is being currently evaluated in psoriatic arthritis and will be evaluated in other rheumatologic diseases, said Dr. Müller-Ladner. Drugs are being developed to target this pathway, he added.

"How and when to stop immunotherapy" (abstract OP0042) is just one of the presentations that Dr. Müller-Ladner thinks has the potential to change practice for rheumatologists. The other is a presentation on using cranial ultrasound to diagnose giant cell arthritis (abstract OP00056).

On the personal level, Dr. Müller-Ladner said he is looking forward to meeting up with colleagues he doesn't see for the rest of the year and engaging in scientific and clinical discussions. "I know the program for EULAR very well and, of course, I will try to attend the important sessions," he said.

Dr. Müller-Ladner reports receiving financial support from every company that markets biologic therapies.

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