ACR Convergence 2021 preview

4 minute read

Here’s our heads up on what to look for as the ACR Convergence goes live this weekend.

Although it’s not the same as a junket to San Francisco, this weekend we’ll be putting the coffee on and logging in to the world’s biggest rheumatology conference.

With over 2000 plenaries, abstracts and posters being presented, Rheumatology Republic will keep you updated on what’s hot, what’s controversial and anything else that catches the eye of our team of rheumatologists reporting on the event.

Among the hotly anticipated sessions involving Australian researchers are a plenary presented by Associate Professor Andrew Östör on risankizumab in PsA patients and Associate Professor Helen Keen’s poster on all-cause mortality in GCA patients.

We caught up with them to find out more.

Associate Professor Andrew Östör

Risankizumab is currently listed on the PBS for chronic plaque psoriasis, but could it also be useful for psoriatic arthritis? Associate Professor Andrew Östör is presenting a plenary early Sunday morning Australian time on the results of a safety and efficacy study for risankizumab in PsA patients. Compared with placebo, risankizumab resulted in statistically greater improvements in signs and symptoms of PsA and was well tolerated.

“There is no doubt that risankizumab is an effective and overall safe medication for the treatment of PsA,” said Professor Östör.

“Multiple agents are required to manage PsA effectively and risankizumab certainly has a role in optimising the care of these patients. I expect in time an application will be made for risankizumab to be licensed for PsA in Australia,” he said.

0453: Efficacy and Safety of Risankizumab for Active Psoriatic Arthritis: 24-Week Integrated Results from 2 Phase 3, Randomized, Double-blind Clinical Trials for CsDMARD-IR and Bio-IR Patients – Saturday 6 November* – Plenary

*US Eastern time.

Associate Professor Helen Keen

Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a hot topic for Associate Professor Helen Keen. She’ll be presenting her team’s longitudinal research on all-cause mortality in GCA which found that GCA patients are almost three times more likely to die in the first year or two after diagnosis, compared to controls.

Professor Keen said that both disease activity and the side effects of steroid sparing agents could be the cause of death so soon after diagnosis.

“It reinforces that we need better treatment for these people,” she told Rheumatology Republic. “We do need to be aggressive with our treatment, but I think we should be looking at steroid sparing agent side effects, their efficacy and their safety.”

The prognosis for GCA patients who survived the first two years after diagnosis got better with time with the mortality risk ratio dropping to below one after 10 years. Professor Keen said this was possibly due to higher medical surveillance and attention to comorbidities.

1393: All-cause mortality in a hospital ascertained cohort with giant cell arteritis: a longitudinal population-level data linkage cohort study – Monday 8 November – Poster Session C

Keep up to date with our Early Career Group reporters

We’ll be sending out regular briefings on some of the key presentations, with special contributions from ECG rheumatologists including Dr Bonnia Liu, Dr Chris McMaster, Dr Elaine Ng and Dr Kylan Pathmanathan.

Find your tribe in a Community Hub

It can be hard connecting with like minds at a virtual conference but we think the community hubs might make it easier. Jump in and engage with other rheumas across 18 special interest areas including myositis, leadership and cellular technologies.

Each hub offers a program list of all sessions related to that topic. You can also view profiles of others interested in the topic and schedule private video meetings with them. Not quite the same as walking around with a cold glass of chardonnay at the evening networking event but far more preferrable for some and healthier!

Use your thumbs

Is tweeting is more your style? Each community hub has two Twitter ambassadors and are encouraging interaction with #ACR2021. Each hub also runs an ongoing chat room where you can post questions and weigh in on topics close to your heart.

Engage with early career rheumatologists

Attending a conference as an early career rheumatologist is one of the best ways to broaden networks and inspire collaborative research opportunities.  Early career hub hosts, Dr Mary Hinojos Mamut and Assistant Professor Grant Schulert, welcome those who might feel like they’re the new kid on the block.

Look schmick with an ACR background.

An office that is beautifully styled and lit perfectly – it’s what we all dream of for video consults. At ACR your wish has been granted with a fancy ACR themed background for Zoom. Choose a modern living room with a view or a comfy yet elegant sofa or the Convergence rainbow. Five fabulous options to replace the Zoom background that you have seen all too many times in past two years.

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