Conference Coverage

EULAR scientific program highlights spectrum of translational research


EULAR 2018’s scientific program in Amsterdam is packed with lectures, clinical and basic science symposia, workshops, and special interest sessions covering the full spectrum of rheumatic diseases, said Dr. Robert Landewé, chair of the Scientific Program Committee.

“More than 5,000 scientific abstracts were submitted, which is an absolute, all-time record,” Dr. Landewé said. Four experts scored each abstract, and only the top 7% were invited for oral presentation during abstract sessions or symposia, he explained in an interview.

Prof. Robert Landewé, chair of EULAR scientific program, rheumatologist

Prof. Robert Landewé

“The next best abstracts were selected for an extensive poster program, which will include more than 40 expert-guided poster tours. Many of the abstracts that did not score high enough to be presented at EULAR 2018 are still available in the abstract book,” added Dr. Landewé, professor of rheumatology at the University of Amsterdam.

Wednesday, June 13

A high point of the 2018 scientific program is Wednesday’s opening plenary session, which will feature abstracts that were handpicked by Dr. Landewé and Dr. Thomas Dörner, professor of rheumatology at Charite Universitätsmedizin, Berlin. “This session includes highly scored abstracts, including late-breakers, on current advances in therapeutics and disease classification,” said Dr. Dörner, who chaired this year’s Abstract Selection Committee.

The plenary abstract session will cover new findings on gout and cardiovascular disease from CANTOS (Canakinumab Anti-inflammatory Thrombosis Outcome Study), long-term mortality in patients with early RA from the COBRA (Combinatietherapie Bij Reumatoide Artritis) study, the use of zoledronic acid to treat knee osteoarthritis with bone lesions, and the relationship between bisphosphonate drug holidays and hip fracture risk. Researchers also will discuss baricitinib in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the value of MRI when treating remitted RA to target, the validation of SLE classification criteria, and draft classification criteria for ANCA-associated vasculitides.

A notable clinical science session on Wednesday will cover cancer and inflammation, Dr. Landewé said. “This is a topic of increasing interest because cancer and inflammation share mutual pathways.”

Novel cancer therapies such as immune checkpoint inhibitors have improved outcomes across a range of tumor types, but also can induce rheumatic disease, he added. Accordingly, presenters will discuss inflammation as “friend” versus “foe” in cancer treatment, the role of tumor necrosis factor in cancer, and risk of malignancy among patients with RA.


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