BOSTON — The 2014 Joint Americas and European Committees for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS/ECTRIMS), the biggest meeting of the year focusing on multiple sclerosis (MS) and dubbed MSBoston 2014, starts this week and is already boasting high attendance.

"The number of attendees has significantly exceeded our expectations," Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut, MD, president of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research of MS (ACTRIMS) and chair of the steering committee for the meeting, told Medscape Medical News. "We now have over 8000 people registered for the meeting."

These organizations, ACTRIMS and the European Committee for Treatment and Research of MS (ECTRIMS), meet together only every 3 years, alternating between European and North American sites. Dr. Dhib-Jalbut, chief of neurology services, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, New Jersey, discussed some of the research and education highlights expected over the next week.

Dr. Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut

"As far as the research component of it, there will be a lot of data presented on the causes of MS, potential risk factors for multiple sclerosis, the immunology and pathology of the disease, differences between pediatric MS and adult multiple sclerosis, how we use imaging to monitor disease progression and response to treatment, and how we use imaging as part of diagnostic criteria for MS," Dr. Dhib-Jabut said.

There will also be several presentations on variants of MS, such as neuromyelitis optica, as well as the neuropsychiatric and cognitive aspects of the disease, he noted.

"I'm also excited about the opening lectures," he said. Of particular interest is a talk by David Hafler, MD, Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, about the broad spectrum of research on the interaction among the environment, the immune system, and genetics in "Approaching the Cause of Multiple Sclerosis" (Thursday, September 11, 9:00 am, Plenary Session 1, Auditorium).

Another keynote of interest is the Paty Lecture, given this year by Andrew Schwartz, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh Systems Neuroscience Institution, Pennsylvania. Dr. Dhib-Jabut described this as "a practical presentation" on the neuroprosthetics now being used in patients with paralysis and how they may in the future help improve physical performance in patients who have disability from disease (Saturday, September 13, 10:30 am, Plenary Session 2, Auditorium).

Late-Breaking News

Also on Saturday will be the Late-Breaking News session, he said. "That presents the latest information that came out after the submission date for the meeting was closed, so it's an opportunity for people who have up-to-date information on MS to contribute to the session," Dr. Dhib-Jabut said.

Seven presentations will look at the latest findings from large clinical trials, genetic and psychiatric aspects of the disease, and genetic determinants of the disease in African Americans, "which will be very interesting," he said. "Those will [provide] new information that will be worth highlighting."

Late-Breaking News Session (Saturday, September 13, 8:30 to 10:00 am, Auditorium)

  • LB1.1: Phase 2 Results of the RADIANCE Trial: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral RPC1063 in Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (A. Bar-Or, Montreal, Canada)

  • LB1.2: The Long-Term Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Interferon-beta and Glatiramer Acetate: 6-Year Analysis of the UK MS Risk-Sharing Scheme (J. Palace, Oxford, United Kingdom)

  • LB1.3: Effect of THC-CBD Oromucosal Spray (Sativex) on Measures of Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-over Study (L. Leocani, Milan, Italy)

  • LB1.4: The Genomic Map of Multiple Sclerosis: Over 45 Novel Susceptibility Variants and Translation of Genetics to Biology (P. DeJager, Boston, Massachusetts)

  • LB1.5: Co-association of Multiple Sclerosis With Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: Record Linkage Studies (S. Ramagopalan, London, United Kingdom)

  • LB1.6: Genetic Determinant of Multiple Sclerosis in African Americans (N. Isobe, San Francisco, California)

  • LB1.7: The Life Extension Protein Klotho Enhances Remyelination Following Cuprizone-Induced Demyelination (CR Abraham, Boston, Massachusetts)

In terms of education, there are 12 courses on offer, including case presentations, and live interaction between the audience and the presenters. Topics include current controversies on management, featuring presenters from "both sides of the Atlantic," the course description notes, how to choose the right disease-modifying therapy, symptom management, and management during pregnancy.

Source: onEdition

Finally, some inspiration for patients and physicians alike will come from a talk by the working crew of Oceans of Hope , a 20-meter ocean-going yacht, all of whom are living with MS. The crew will address the meeting's Opening Ceremony by sharing a video of their adventures during the voyage, leaving Lisbon, Portugal, on August 2 and Arriving in Boston on September 8.

"The Sailing Sclerosis project, Oceans of Hope, will change the perception of multiple sclerosis by showing what is possible when people with a chronic disease are empowered to conquer their individual challenges, by engaging those whose lives are touched by MS and developing networks as a foundation for life-changing behaviors," the project Web site notes (Opening Ceremony, Thursday, September 11, 8:30 am, Auditorium).

Medscape Medical News will be onsite in Boston, providing in-depth news coverage and feature interviews, beginning Wednesday, September 10. Follow us on Twitter (@MedscapeNeuro) and Facebook. Follow the Twitter-sphere on MSBoston 2014 on Twitter using #msboston2014.

2014 Joint Americas and European Committees for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS/ECTRIMS), September 10-13, 2014, John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts.


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