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ACR News 1 – October 21, 2018

newspaper in mail slotMore than 15,000 clinicians, researchers, academics, patient advocates and arthritis health professionals from more than 100 countries are expected to gather at the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals 2018 Annual Meeting over the next six days in Chicago to exchange scientific and clinical information.

This year’s ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting will include 450 educational sessions. More than 700 speakers hailing from more than 20 countries will present as many as 3,000 abstracts to gain firsthand knowledge and access to new scientific and clinical findings.

Session topics will include newly proposed treatments for systemic lupus erythematosus and osteoarthritis, updated classification criteria for large vessel vasculitis and a look at current controversies regarding arthritis diseases and bone.

An exciting emerging class on therapies for arthritis patients is the new wave of kinase inhibitors. At this year’s ACR, there will be many presentations on these new medications, such as filgotinib and peficitinib.

Throughout the week at the ACR, presentations will also focus on juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). ACE has followed closely the advancements in pediatric rheumatology and reported on the expanding number of effective medications available that have positively changed the outcomes for JIA patients.

At the ACE meeting, Dr. Timothy Beukelman, MD, MSCE, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will explore the newest draft ACR recommendations for treating JIA. This is the first major update to the treatment recommendations since the original guidelines were released in 2011, Dr. Beukelman said. A 2013 update covered only systemic arthritis.

Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) is the formal scientific name for a set of patient-centred measures that evaluate and monitor physical, mental and social health in adult and child patients living with chronic disease such as arthritis. There will also be a major focus on quality of life measures at this year’s ACR meeting. In particular, there will be a focus on the emergence of PROMIS scales as a dominant system for tracking quality of life, not only in clinical trials but in practice. As a major focus at the meeting, there will be numerous abstracts examining the implications of PROMIS quality of life measures in the whole range of arthritis diseases.

Finally, in a series of Immunology Update sessions this week, researchers will present the latest science and how that translates into potential therapeutic targets. In one of these sessions, “Next Generation of B Cell and Plasma Cell Therapies,” Dr. Ignacio Sanz, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, will discuss the limitations of current therapies and to inform the development of new strategies targeting the B cell and plasma cell compartments, including new agents for the treatment of myeloma that may have relevance for autoimmunity—small molecule inhibitors, such as Btk targeting and cell-based therapies including CART cells.

“We are learning more and more about how different patients may be different in terms of what type of B cells and plasma cells contribute to their disease in particular, as well as patients whose disease may not be triggered or induced by B cell or plasma cell malfunction,” Dr. Sanz said. “As we are able to recognize more populations of B cells and plasma cells that contribute to disease, we can use our molecular understanding of those B cell and plasma cell populations to develop better therapies to target them.”

In another Immunology Update session, “IL-17: From Discovery to Target”, Dr. Pierre Miossec, MD, PhD, Professor of Clinical Immunology at the Claude Bernard University in Lyon, France, will review the biology of IL-17 and the targeting of this cytokine in diseases such as psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and spondyloarthritis.

Dr. Miossec was the first to identify the pro-inflammatory and destructive properties of IL-17. He further showed that combining IL-17 and TNF inhibition was more potent—the basis for numerous therapies targeting IL-17 and which led to approval of the first anti-IL-17 antibody in 2015.

“Recent and ongoing research results continue to contribute to our understanding of the systemic effects of IL-17,” Dr. Miossec said. “Research in this area is being translated into the development of inhibitors of IL-17. Today, three monoclonal antibodies targeting IL-17 and its receptor are on the market for skin and arthritis conditions. Other options are in development to target other members of the IL-17 family and molecules involved in Th17 development.”

Arthritis Consumer Experts is reporting from the ACR meeting and encourages you, our members and subscribers, to send us your science questions. Follow #AskACE on Facebook at Arthritis Consumer Experts and Twitter at @ACEJointHealth to keep up with the conversation.

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