Pam Harrison

June 02, 2016

LONDON, United Kingdom — New ways to treat old diseases will be presented here at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Congress 2016 as specialists gather to discuss, among other things, alternative therapies for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus.

Presentations on selective JAK1 inhibitors, filgotinib, and B-cell-directed therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, bimekizumab or ixekizumab for psoriatic arthritis, and belimumab or anifrolumab for systemic lupus erythematosus will help push the specialty forward.

An "exciting mix of new clinical information, management recommendations, and cutting-edge news from translational science" will be on offer, said EULAR President Gerd Burmester, MD, from Charité Universitätsmediz in Berlin.

The number of session paths available to delegates this year is ambitious, he said.

Practical new ways to image underlying pathology will be woven throughout the meeting. For example, a study on the use of dual-energy CT with iodine map in the evaluation of hand psoriatic arthritis will be presented, as will results from the randomized controlled ARCTIC trial in which ultrasound was used in the management of rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, the valuable contribution that simple exercise makes in the management of rheumatic disease will be highlighted in a number of presentations. Among these will be the effect of physical activity on the risk for total joint replacement in patients with severe knee or hip osteoarthritis, the effectiveness of a progressive resistance strength program on hand osteoarthritis, and the relation between aerobic capacity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Poster sessions will provide an opportunity for delegates to indulge in wide-ranging scientific content. And the meeting organizers have made it easy; there will be many themed poster tours so that delegates can review research aligned with specific interests.

Latest in Disease Management, Guidelines

For clinicians looking for the latest in disease management, fresh ideas on how to handle common and not-so-common disorders, ranging from gout to fibromyalgia, will be found in What is New (WIN) sessions and How to Treat (HOT) sessions. And practical skills sessions will focus on the use of ultrasound, capillaroscopy, and MRI for the assessment of different aspects of rheumatic disorders.

Clinical and outcome science sessions will address the management of day-to-day issues, such as the conditions for which the long-term use of glucocorticoids might be worth the risk, the assessment and minimization of cardiovascular risk in patients with inflammatory diseases, and the type of exercise best for older patients with osteoarthritis.

Updates of EULAR recommendations for the diagnosis and management of a variety of rheumatic diseases will be discussed, as will special EULAR-driven projects currently underway across Europe.

For science-minded attendees, basic and translational science sessions will provide a smorgasbord of topics that should satisfy every curiosity.

Budding rheumatologists will learn basic skills, such as how to take a history, how to conduct a physical exam, and how to read a joint x-ray, in The Young Rheumatologist sessions. They will also learn about opportunities abroad and ways to get involved in special EULAR projects.

A major initiative — the EULAR School of Rheumatology — will have special billing this year. "EULAR has the goal to be the pre-eminent provider of the world's education in rheumatology," Dr Burmester explained.

Information on free or inexpensive current and future educational offers throughout the world will be available under one roof, he added. And universal accreditation and credit point system for health professionals and physicians will be provided.

There will be dedicated sessions for People With Arthritis and Rheumatism in Europe (PARE) and Health Professionals in Rheumatology that are tailored to the needs and interests of both groups.

And if any of the 14,000 expected participants from more than 100 countries is looking for a break from educational endeavors, there is the opening plenary session and networking platform during the opening session.

"There's also the famous, friendly EULAR spirit, generated by close interactions between doctors, healthcare professionals, and patients," Dr Burmester explained. "And EULAR takes place in very pleasant congress venues each year, so the meeting gives us a good chance to network with colleagues."

For those unable to be everywhere at once, most oral presentations will be captured electronically and made available to EULAR members after the meeting.

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