ENDO 2016: Centennial Celebration Will Mix Old With New

Miriam E Tucker

March 23, 2016

At the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in June 1967, Rulon W Rawson, MD, said this in his presidential address:

"I f I had one wish that could be granted, it would be that I might stand off in the wings with some of you at the 100th Anniversary meeting of the Endocrine Society; that we would be able to understand the scientific papers presented at that meeting; and that we could say to ourselves, 'The greatly advanced knowledge of endocrinology is based upon sound foundations that were built during the first 50 years by students of endocrinology who were our good friends.'"

That 100th Anniversary meeting will take place in Boston April 1–4, 2016, and the program will indeed commemorate the enormous influence of those early "sound foundations" and the many ways in which they have informed endocrinology's present and will inform its future.

"It is kind of remarkable looking back. The changes that have taken place over 100 years are quite amazing," current Endocrine Society president Lisa H Fish, MD, chief of the division of endocrinology at the Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, told Medscape Medical News.

In fact, the society convened a special centennial task force to organize that aspect of the meeting, ENDO 2016 chair Carol H Wysham, MD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Spokane, told Medscape Medical News. "This is a very special meeting....We're recognizing the scientific achievements of our forefathers and foremothers by weaving historical features into all of our plenary and symposium sessions."

Centennially focused sessions highlighting how the field has advanced in the past century and where it is heading will be indicated in the program with a crimson "100" icon. Among those topics are androgen excess in women, hypoparathyroidism, adipose regulation, and the new American Thyroid Association thyroid nodule and cancer guidelines.

(The 2016 meeting represents the 100-year anniversary of the Endocrine Society but is not the 100th meeting, as the conference did not take place in 1943 and 1945 because of the Second World War.)

Of course, the meeting will feature new research, too: more than 2500 abstracts will be presented orally and in posters, including two oral late-breaker sessions with seven abstracts each, one with basic and basic/translational research on April 2 and the other with clinical findings on April 3.

Timely topics in the clinical oral late-breaker session will include:

  • Effect of testosterone therapy combined with a very low caloric diet on fat mass in obese men with a low- to low-normal testosterone level: A randomized controlled trial.

  • Medullary thyroid cancer with bone metastases and the effect of antiresorptive agents on skeletal related events: Experience at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

  • Patterns of prescribing of weight-loss medications in a large cohort of adults.

The society will also release a new scientific statement on compounded bioidentical hormones used to treat menopausal symptoms and other hormone conditions, along with new research findings on implanted devices to treat infertility, the link between polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and asthma, and a new method to predict postmenopausal bone loss.

Perhaps something Dr Rawson couldn't have imagined is the rising concern about the adverse effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. That topic will be addressed in several sessions throughout the meeting, specifically with regard to their effects on the microbiome, attention-deficit disorders in children, male fertility, developing breast tissue, and potential cancer risk.

Plenaries of Plenty

The Presidential Plenary on April 1 will commemorate the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of insulin with two cutting-edge talks, one from Harvard University researcher Douglas A Melton, PhD, on his laboratory's progress in making human pancreatic beta cells for treating diabetes, the other from "bionic-pancreas" researcher Edward R Damiano, PhD, providing the latest update from his Boston University team.

"Those are both exciting," said Dr Fish, who noted that the Endocrine Society has been working to add more diabetes to the meeting agenda, now that the conference has been moved to the spring and no longer immediately follows the American Diabetes Association's June meeting as it did in years prior to 2015.

"The Endocrine Society has not done as much with diabetes in the past, but we're trying to change that....For the vast majority of our specialty, it's what we do," Dr Fish noted.

Other plenary talks will explore adrenal disease on April 1, fertility preservation and adipocyte biology April 2, thyroid cancer on April 3, and osteoporosis on April 4.

Each topic will be presented by two speakers, one addressing the basic science, the other clinical aspects. "We try to weave in bench-to-bedside information," Dr Wysham commented.

Preserving female fertility using techniques such as ovarian cryopreservation and transplantation is a hot topic, Dr Fish said.

"Today, even women who don't have a partner are able to preserve their ovaries for a period of time. There have been enormous breakthroughs in preserving female fertility."

Osteoporosis treatment has also seen major progress, she said. "Ten or 15 years ago we could measure osteoporosis but couldn't treat it. There's a whole variety of drugs now....This has been another huge success story in endocrinology."

Endocrinology Through the Years

Additional meeting highlights that have proven popular in the past include "Master Clinician," "Meet the Professor," and "Year In" sessions, with the latter this year focusing on thyroid physiology and disease on April 1, G-protein–coupled receptors research on April 3, and endocrine genetics and obesity on April 4.

With the "Year In" sessions, speakers review seven to 10 papers from the past year that they feel have been the most impactful.

"I expect that will be very helpful," Dr Wysham said.

Pulling together the meeting's historical theme will be a keynote presentation on April 2 by D Lynn Loriaux, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and head of the endocrine and diabetes division at Oregon Health Sciences Center, Portland. He will deliver the Clark T Sawin Memorial History of Endocrinology Lecture: A Biographical History of Endocrinology, a topic about which he authored a book.

Clark T Sawin, MD, was a thyroid specialist and historian for whom the Endocrine Society's library is named, and Dr Loriaux was the ideal choice for the 2016 Sawin memorial lecture, Dr Fish said.

"He's such a fabulous speaker. It's been a while since he's been to the meeting, so I was very happy he could speak this year."

Dr Wysham is on the advisory board and/or speakers' bureau for AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk. Dr Fish received a grant for clinical research to support a fellowship position from Eli Lilly.

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