'Charting the Future' Theme Will Guide 2018 AACE Meeting

Miriam E. Tucker

May 10, 2018

A futuristic theme will unfold in one of America's most historic cities at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 2018 Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress, being held May 16 to 20, in Boston.

At the meeting, which will focus on "Charting the Future," attendees will hear about the latest developments, research, and translational therapies shaping endocrinology practice now and going forward, program chair Vin Tangpricha, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, told Medscape Medical News

"I hope people come back to their practices feeling that they know what is coming down the pipeline in the future in terms of advances in endocrinology and feeling updated currently in endocrine practice and care," Tangpricha said.   

This year's program features 143 speakers and 66 distinct clinical endocrinology educational sessions. Forward-looking plenary topics — presented by some of endocrinology's luminaries — will include beta-cell regeneration, the role of the microbiome in metabolic syndrome, and a unique program to identify undiagnosed diseases.

And in a novel exhibit hall feature, attendees will be offered a "virtual reality healthcare experience," in which they can don Google Daydream headsets and step into a "360-degree virtual setting to learn how innovations in virtual reality and augmented reality...are being employed for healthcare professionals' training and educational opportunities," according to AACE.

And in terms of new research, AACE received a record 617 abstract submissions, of which 522 were accepted for presentation.

"This component of the annual meeting continues to grow significantly," abstract review subcommittee co-chair Matthew J. Levine, MD, of Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, California, told Medscape Medical News.

Six Top Abstracts to Address a "Wide Degree of Pathology"

Six of the abstracts were selected as particularly noteworthy and will be presented orally, while the rest will be presented as posters. On Thursday, May 17, the oral abstracts will address predictors of permanent hypoparathyroidism after total thyroidectomy, prognostic factors of metastatic thyroid carcinoma, and predicting who will develop ipilimumab-induced inflammation of the pituitary gland (hypophysitis).

Another abstract will address what has become a "very hot topic" in endocrinology: endocrinopathies arising from checkpoint immunotherapy for cancer.

"There are no specific protocols for how to manage these patients from an endocrinology standpoint when they need these oncology agents. It's becoming more and more common. This is going to be an exciting topic to hear. There's been a lot of research on this," Levine said, noting that two of his fellows presented on the topic at last year's AACE meeting.

And regarding the first of Thursday's three oral abstracts, Levine noted that although hypoparathyroidism following total thyroidectomy isn't common, it occurs in about 5% to 7% of cases. "So, if we can predict who might be at risk for the surgical complication, we could take preventive action."

On Friday, May 18, the top three abstracts will cover dapagliflozin (Farxiga/Forxiga, AstraZeneca), an SGLT-2 inhibitor for type 2 diabetes, and suppression of plasma hepcidin; burosumab (Crysvita, Ultragenyx), for X-linked hypophosphatemia (a rare inherited form of rickets) in pediatric patients; and cabozantinib (Cabometyx, Exelixis) in patients with unresectable metastatic pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. 

In April 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved burosumab to treat adults and children age 1 year and older with X-linked hypophosphatemia, which followed a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency for a similar indication in December 2017.

Cabozantinib is FDA-approved for the treatment of metastatic medullary thyroid cancer and renal cell carcinoma.  

"I'm excited to be part of these oral presentations because there's a wide degree of pathology...that we'll get to hear about, some of which will include fascinating findings about commonly encountered or hot-button topics," Levine said.

Several other abstracts being presented as posters are particularly clinical focused. These include a post-hoc analysis of the STAMPEDE trial examining the acute versus long-term post-bariatric surgery effects on HbA1c, the impact of thyroid nodule location on malignancy potential, and a new index for assessing bone health in obese individuals.

Levine commented that the bone abstract is "…certainly interesting since we’re all aware of the potential shortcomings of the FRAX assessment, although it's a very good tool overall in determining fracture risk in our patients. New and possible adjunctive validated tools are certainly welcome.”

Forward-Looking Featured Speakers

Thursday morning will kick off with talks from three giants of endocrinology.

C. Ronald Kahn, MD, former research director at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, whose work led to the fundamental understanding of diabetes pathophysiology, will speak on New Dimensions in Insulin Action and Why They Are Important to Know.  

Harvard professor of medicine Beverly M.K. Biller, MD, a leading expert in Cushing's disease, will then deliver an update on the latest research into the condition. She'll be followed by Anthony N. Hollenberg, MD, chief of the Thyroid Unit and Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Division at Beth Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, who will speak about New Insights into Thyroid Hormone Action.

And on Friday morning, Andrew F. Stewart, MD, professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, and "the leading authority on the replication and regeneration of insulin-producing human pancreatic beta cells," will speak on that topic. 

Meanwhile, in a special lecture on the morning of Saturday, May 19, Ashok Balasubramanyam, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, will discuss Clinical Discovery Through the Undiagnosed Disease Network, a special seven-site program run by the National Institutes of Health that uses genomic approaches such as gene sequencing to provide diagnoses for people with mysterious or intractable medical conditions.

"I'm looking forward to that talk...I'll be interested to hear what comes to his clinic and how he works through those cases," Tangpricha commented. 

Also on Saturday morning, Sundeep Khosla, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, a leading expert in skeletal physiology and disease, will address Current and Evolving Approaches for Osteoporosis Treatment, and Martin Schlumberger, MD, an internationally renowned endocrine oncology expert from University Paris-Sud, France, will speak on Thyroid Cancer: Towards a Selective Use of Post-Operative Radioiodine in Thyroid Cancer Patients.

As in past years, much of Sunday morning will be devoted to obesity management, and this year's focus will be bariatric surgery and its implications. Topics will include novel surgical approaches, endocrine and nutritional consequences, bone mineralization, and long-term cardiovascular health in the bariatric patient. 

"I think it will be very interesting…Bariatric surgery is part of AACE's obesity initiative that we try to address. Endocrinologists are often seeing post-bariatric surgery patients in their practice…We've had a lot of talks on obesity in the last few years, and it was natural to add some surgery," Tangpricha said.

Other meeting highlights include numerous hour-long Meet the Professor sessions, several half-day In-Depth symposia, and special programming for young endocrinologists and fellows-in-training. 

What's more, Tangpricha noted, "Boston at this time of year should be nice. The Red Sox are in town that week. I think it will be a very memorable meeting in terms of location and topics."

Tangpricha has reported no relevant financial relationships. Levine is a speaker for and/or has received honoraria from Novo Nordisk, Janssen, Merck, Boehringer-Ingelheim, and Amgen.

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