Neil Osterweil

February 08, 2017

BARCELONA — Promising clinical data on new agents and the release of patient-friendly guidelines on bowel diseases are just some of the highlights anticipated at the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) 2017 Congress.

Data on Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, a new drug class that acts on the JAK pathway to ease inflammation and includes filgotinib and peficitinib, will be of particular interest.

"Studies will be presented on genetics and epigenetics, pathology, and mechanisms of action of innovative therapies in inflammatory bowel disease," said Julián Panés, MD, president and chair of the ECCO organizing committee.

Dr Julián Panés (Courtesy of ECCO)

Educational sessions will address challenging clinical situations in IBD, such as the management of pregnant, geriatric, and pediatric patients, and those with chronic pain and psychologic comorbidities.

Results from a phase 3 long-term follow-up study of Cx601, a mesenchymal stem-cell therapy for fistulizing Crohn's disease, will also be presented.

And how resetting the mucosal T-cell repertoire contributes to the remission of Crohn's disease after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation will be explained for the first time, Dr Panés reported.

"It's an important concept," he told Medscape Medical News. It was hypothesized that the novel therapy would work before the mechanism of action was understood, "but it has never before been reliably demonstrated."

Guidelines in Many Languages

New translations of ECCO guidelines on ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease for physicians and patients will be introduced at the congress.

The guidelines will be available in the languages of 29 European countries, and will provide patients and physicians with "a common background of knowledge that may facilitate dialogue, understanding, and common involvement in decision making," according to an ECCO statement.

Meeting goers who can manage to tear themselves away for a few hours can take in the many pleasures of Barcelona, often described as one of Europe's liveliest and loveliest cities, with breathtaking architecture, world-class museums, chic restaurants, hot nightlife, and friendly neighborhood tapas bars — all of which can be enjoyed in the moderate Mediterranean climate.

Dr Panés reports receiving consulting fees or honoraria from Abbott, Boehringer Ingelheim, Genentech-Roche, MSD, Tigenics, Topivert, Pfizer, Galapagos, and Takeda, and speaking fees from Abbott, MS, Shire, and Tillotts.

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