Microbiome, Immune Therapies, Biologics Showcased at DDW

Caroline Helwick

May 11, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC — Hot topics at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2015 include the microbiome, immune-mediated therapies for gastrointestinal cancers, novel biologics for inflammatory disease, and advances in endoscopy and bariatric surgery.

"We are giving attendees the very best in the topic areas, but we are not increasing the number of sessions. We are actually reducing the number," said Richard Peek Jr, MD, from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, who is program chair for the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), one of the joint sponsors of the meeting.

"This year, we are blending the very top abstracts with state-of-the-art talks by international leaders in different clinical fields," said Dr Peek.

The 15,000 physicians, researchers, and academicians expected to attend the meeting will be offered more than a dozen combined clinical symposia organized by the four sponsoring societies: the AGA, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.

The plenary session will cover the TOUCHSTONE study of an oral S1P receptor modulator in ulcerative colitis (abstract 445), the benefit of simeprevir and sofosbuvir combination therapy in patients with hepatitis C and class B or C cirrhosis (abstract 450), the benefit of COX and EGFR inhibition on polyp formation (abstract 447), and the role of bile acids in obesity (abstract 443).

We are blending the very top abstracts with state-of-the-art talks by international leaders in different clinical fields.

Three joint abstract sessions will address unanswered questions related to colon cancer screening, upper GI bleeding, and pancreatic screening, Dr Peek said.

During a clinical practice plenary, researchers will report on the optimal selection of fecal microbiota transplantation donors (abstract 499), provide guidance on maximizing the productivity of an endoscopy unit (abstract 495), identify factors associated with advanced colonic neoplasia (abstract 496), and highlight the nonevidence-based use of proton pump inhibitors in nursing homes (abstract 497).

With several highly effective new drugs in use and others in the pipeline, hepatitis C continues to be a hot topic.

Hepatitis C

The relative benefits, pharmacology, and selective use of the various therapies for hepatitis C will be addressed during a number of sessions. And findings from several clinical trials will be presented, including the phase 3 ALLY-2 study of daclatasvir plus sofosbuvir in patients with hepatitis C and HIV coinfection (abstract 901d) and the C-EDGE trial of grazoprevir plus elbasvir with or without ribavirin in treatment-refractory patients (abstract 901f).

The basic science component of DDW continues to grow and attract the field's top investigators. At this year's meeting, the basic science plenary "will serve as a lynchpin for basic research programming," Dr Peek explained. "A keynote lecture by Klaus Kaestner, PhD, from the University of Pennsylvania, will be a focal point for many of the abstracts to be presented in that session."

In the area of basic science, there is strong interest in the gut microbiota and the gut's innate immune response.

Several sessions will focus on innovative technology, and presenters will address the ever-important area of quality — how to achieve it, how to measure it, and how to get better at it.

The late-breaking abstracts session is the result of the collaboration of all four sponsoring societies. "We had a record number of more than 125 abstracts submitted, and we picked the very best of those to present," Dr Peek reported. In addition, a small number of highly scored late-breaking abstracts will be presented as posters.

Dr Peek has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.


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