'Driving Innovation' Is the Theme as AACE Meets in Austin

Miriam E Tucker

April 27, 2017

Meetings held in Austin often feature technological advances, and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 2017 Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress, taking place in the Texas capital May 3 through 7, is no exception.

Agenda items include sessions on diabetes technological innovations, including a featured plenary talk on diabetes device regulation by former US Food and Drug Administration director Robert Califf, MD, as well as presentations on the use of both molecular markers and office-based gene-expression–classifier technology for thyroid-nodule evaluation. Other sessions will address personalized medicine in various areas within endocrinology.

The meeting theme this year is "Driving Innovation," noted program chair S Sethu K Reddy, MD, chief of the adult diabetes section at the Joslin Clinic, Boston, Massachusetts. "We thought that was appropriate because Austin is a big technology town," he told Medscape Medical News.

Indeed, AACE president Pauline M Camacho, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease Center at Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, told Medscape Medical News: "There's going to be a lot of new technology. The field of endocrinology is evolving. You have to keep up with all the new gadgets our patients are using. I think it's important for endocrinologists to be familiar with what's new and what's coming up."

Innovative Lectures Each Day

And of course, there's also much more medicine on the agenda beyond technology. In addition to a session on "Advanced Diabetes Technology Concepts," other preconference topics on Wednesday May 3 include "Hot Topics in Bone Disease in 2017," "Providing Reproductive Endocrine Care in the Office," "Leading Edge of Practical Thyroidology," "The Practice of Obesity Medicine in 2017," and a joint endocrinologist-endocrine surgeon case-based discussion.

"All of these are meant to provide practical information for doctors to take back to their practices," Dr Reddy said.

Thursday morning's plenaries include a talk on bone as an endocrine organ, by Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the genetics and development department at Columbia University Medical Center, New York. "He's a world-renowned speaker, so I'm looking forward to that," Dr Camacho said.

Also on Thursday morning, Judith Fradkin, MD, head of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, will address personalized medicine in diabetes, while William Tamborlane, MD, of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, will discuss "application of high-tech innovations" in diabetes management.

Friday morning's plenary highlights include a session on heart failure as "the frequent, forgotten, and fatal complication of diabetes," innovations in management of adrenal diseases, and a cutting-edge thyroid-management session featuring several authors of the 2015 American Thyroid Association guidelines.

And among a series of "in-depth symposia" on Friday afternoon will be workshops on obesity management, the diabetic foot, metabolic bone disease, and a new focus for AACE, the endocrine needs of the aging patient.  

"AACE has been planning and focusing on the specific needs of the elderly," said Dr Camacho, pointing out that in osteoporosis management, for example, issues such as chronic kidney disease, frequent falls, balance problems, gastrointestinal tolerability, and compliance all come into play. "It's not like managing people in their 50s and 60s," she noted.

And on Saturday morning, Dr Califf is likely to draw a crowd with his talk, "Creating the Ecosystem to Support Effective Technology for Patients with Diabetes."

"I think that will be a fascinating discussion about not just drugs but devices," Dr Reddy observed.

Cutting-edge Research

New research will be presented in posters on Friday and Saturday, and a handful of abstracts chosen for oral presentation will be presented in special sessions Saturday morning.

Oral "late-breaker" topics include predictability of type 2 diabetes remission after bariatric surgery, autoantibodies to GnRH receptors in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, and use of an automated insulin dose titration system in a hospital setting.

Other oral abstract topics include use of an office-based gene-expression classifier to manage thyroid nodules, a 22-month review of immune checkpoint inhibitor–associated endocrine disorders at a single institution, and clinical predictors of progression to insulin use.

Interacting With the Experts

Also, in the afternoons on Thursday and Saturday, a line-up of "meet-the-expert" sessions will include former AACE presidents Yehuda Handelsman, MD, and Paul Jellinger, MD, discussing AACE's new lipid guidelines — just published in the April issue of Endocrine Practice — which advise bringing back LDL targets and propose <55 mg/dL for a new "extreme risk" category (Endocrine Pract. 2017;23:479-497).

It is "a big statement to go after a very low LDL and to go away from the most recent [American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association] guidelines," Dr Camacho commented.

In another meet-the-expert session, endocrine neoplasia expert Conor J Best, MD, of MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, will discuss "endocrine care of oncology patients," also to be addressed in the Saturday oral abstract.

"Many new cancer therapies are biologics that often have endocrine side effects. This is a growing field endocrinologists will need to become more familiar with," Dr Reddy commented.

Other "meet-the-expert" sessions will tackle precision thyroid-cancer care, "pseudo-endocrine" patients, diagnostic innovations for the diabetic foot, skin, and endocrine disorders, molecular markers in thyroid-nodule evaluation, use of continuous glucose monitoring in pregnancy and "unique" populations, and managing transgender youth, a topic that was spotlighted at last year's AACE meeting.

Dr Camacho told Medscape Medical News, "Every year we're always trying to come up with something new, but it's hard because we already have such a good program."

Dr Reddy is a speaker and/or advisor for Merck, Janssen, Calibra, Aegerion, and Sanofi. Dr Camacho is conducting trials for Amgen, and NPS Pharmaceuticals and is on the advisory board of Alexion.  

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