Aussies at ACR 2023

12 minute read

Australia will be well represented at ACR Convergence 2023, taking place in San Diego from 10 November.

There’s plenty of Australian research and many Australian researchers represented at ACR 2023 in San Diego.

We talked to some Australian researchers presenting at ACR 2023 about their research.

Dr Keren Port is a Sydney-based physician looking to enter the rheumatology training program. This will be her first time at ACR, where she’ll be presenting the findings of a study investigating the diagnostic accuracy of PET/CT in patients with suspected giant cell arteritis (1646).

The launchpad for the study was the 2019 GAPS study, led by Dr Tony Sammel, where PET/CT compared favourably with temporal artery biopsy in GCA patients under strict research conditions.

“What we found in the research settings is that it had a high-level sensitivity and specificity,” Dr Port told Rheumatology Republic.

“And we thought, okay, will this translate into real-world practice, or will there be too many confounders and elements of real life that will impact its performance?

“At the Prince of Wales Hospital, we’re using PET as a first line diagnostic tool, and it was a good audit to look at the real-world performance, to see what it actually does in a natural cohort of patients rather than the selected research cohorts.”

For Dr Port, San Diego’s famous fish tacos will be on the menu, but she’s most looking forward to seeing the other research firsthand and talking to other researchers about how they go about it.

“At this stage of my career, to be able to speak at a conference of this calibre is a real privilege,” she said.

Dr Tony Sammel is an author on several abstracts at ACR, including a poster on using the Southend GCA Probability Score to screen for GCA and potentially avoid invasive temporal artery biopsies (2408).

“The use of the GCA Southend score can minimise unnecessary biopsies in patients at low risk of having GCA,” Dr Sammel told Rheumatology Republic.

“In this audit, 17% of patients across our two hospitals had a low risk GCA Southend score <10 and none of them had a positive temporal artery biopsy. Based on annual population biopsy rates of around ~90 per million (South Australian data), this could translate to 400 biopsies avoided in low-risk patients in Australia each year,” he said.

Dr Sammel will also give an oral presentation (1645) – in the same session as Dr Port – on the association between PET/CT-detected vascular activity at diagnosis and aortic dilatation at five years in GCA patients.

At his first in-person ACR meeting since 2019, Dr Sammel’s most excited to catch up with interstate and international colleagues, many of whom he hasn’t seen since covid.

Professor David Hunter was part of an international team looking at the value of various intra-articular injections for knee osteoarthritis management (poster 1840), where the picture for platelet rich plasma injections doesn’t look good.

“The current evidence base does not support the use of PRP based on efficacy and this is now underlined by not being cost-effective,” he told Rheumatology Republic.

In some good news for OA, a study on repeat injections of TLC599, a liposomal formulation of dexamethasone sodium phosphate, looks promising, and Professor Hunter will be presenting phase 3 trial results in the late breaking abstracts on the last day (L19).

Similarly, there’s promise for the truncated recombinant human fibroblast growth factor‑18, sprifermin (oral abstract 0821).

“Post hoc analyses of phase 2 trials of sprifermin looked positive and there are now plans to move ahead with this design in phase 3. Hopefully, after demonstrating efficacy and garnering regulatory approval, we can look forward to using it,” said Professor Hunter.

He’s looking forward to heading back to San Diego, which he’s visited a few times before, adding that “there are great beaches nearby for those going”.

Dr Claire Owen is co-author on several posters and has picked out some sessions relating to vasculitis.

“Highlights for me will include the Great Debate on the Monday featuring Dr Robert Spiera and Dr Philip Seo, which will tackle the issue whether early targeted therapy should be routine in both PMR and GCA.

She said she’s particularly looking forward to the vasculitis imaging abstract session (13MI52) featuring several important studies evaluating long-term vascular complications in GCA, including those of Dr Tony Sammel and Dr Keren Port.

“Several ANCA-associated vasculitis abstracts also stand out in the plenary sessions,” she added, “including one evaluating the efficacy of a PEXIVAS style GC-wean in severe disease (0725) and another looking at the risks and benefits of PJP prophylaxis following rituximab treatment (1584).”

Dr Owen will present key abstracts in our post-ACR webinar, The ACR abstracts that will change practice, alongside Professor Rebecca Grainger, Professor Peter Nash and Dr David Liew.

Here’s a list of some of the Australian research being presented in oral abstracts and posters, as well as some of the international research featuring Australian researchers:

Oral abstracts

NOTE: All times and dates are US Pacific Time as per the ACR Convergence schedule.

0817 Comparative Effectiveness of Yoga and Strengthening Exercise for Treating Knee OsteoArthritis: A Randomised Controlled Trial (YOGA Trial) [Sunday 12 November 4:00pm]
Bedru Abafita, Ambrish Singh, Dawn Aitken, Steffany Moonaz, Andrew J Palmer, Leigh Blizzard, Changhai Ding, Stan Drummen, Graeme Jones, Kim Bennell and Benny Samuel Antony

1645 Aortic Dilatation and PET/CT Vascular Activity at Diagnosis and 5 Years in an Inception Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) Cohort [Monday 13 November 2:00pm]
Anthony Sammel, Ivan Ho Shon, Daniel Moses, Fredericks Stacey, Gita Mathur, Claudia Hillenbrand, Edward Hsiao, Schembri Geoffrey, Rodger Laurent and Eva Wegner

1646 The Real-World Experience of Combined Cranial and Large Vessel FDG-PET/CT in the Investigation of Giant Cell Arteritis [Monday 13 November 2:00pm]
Keren Port, Ivan Ho Shon, Sally Ayesa, Rachel Langford, Olivia Bennett, Andrew Csillag, Stacey Fredericks, Luz Palacios-Derflingher, Eva Wegner and Anthony Sammel

2437 Translocation of Intestinal Bacteria to Axial and Peripheral Joints in a Model of Spondyloarthropathy [Tuesday 14 November 2:00pm]
Benjamin Cai, Rabina Giri, Helen Benham, Linda Rehaume, Geoffery Strutton, Anne-Sophie Bergot and Ranjeny Thomas

2444 Development of Engineered Smith-Specific Regulatory T Cells to Treat Lupus Nephritis [Tuesday 14 November 2:00pm]
Eric Morand, Rachel Cheong, Peter Eggenhuizen, Janet Chang, Ashraf Broury, Boaz Ng, Khai Loh, Elean Tay, Chanjuan Shen, Julie Monk, Yong Zhong, Steven Lim, Jia Xi Chung, Rangi Kandane-Rathnayake, Rachel Koelmeyer, Alberta Hoi, Sarah Snelgrove, Yi Tian Ting and Joshua Ooi

2593 FT011 for the Treatment of Systemic Sclerosis. Results from a Phase II Study [Wednesday 15 November 11:00am]
Christopher Denton, Wendy Stevens, Nicole Kruger, Michelle Papadimitriou, Fay Khong, Michelle Bradney, Darren Kelly and Robert Lafyatis

L19 A Phase 3 Study of Repeat Injection of TLC599 in Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Benefits to 52 Weeks [Wednesday 15 November 7:30am]
International team, presented by David Hunter

0818 Efficacy of XT-150, a Novel Non-Viral Gene Therapy Delivering IL-10v, on Moderate to Severe Pain Due to Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Results of a Phase 2 Trial [Sunday 12 November 4:00pm]
International team including Flavia Cicuttini

0821 Effects of Sprifermin on a Novel Outcome of Osteoarthritis Symptom Progression: Post Hoc Analysis of the FORWARD Study [Sunday 12 November 4:00pm]
International team including David Hunter

2551 Remission and Low Disease Activity (LDA) in Patients with SLE Treated with Belimumab (BEL): Results from a Large Integrated Analysis [Tuesday 14 November 4:00pm]
International team including Shereen Oon and Mandana Nikpour

2553 Prevalence, Determinants and Outcomes of Target Attainment in SLE Patients with Clinically Active Disease in a Large Multinational Prospective Lupus Cohort [Tuesday 14 November 4:00pm]
International team including Yanjie Hao, Dylan Hansen, Rangi Kandane-Rathnayake, Fiona Goldblatt, Sean O’Neill, Vera Golder, Alberta Hoi, Eric Morand, Shereen Oon and Mandana Nikpour

2556 End-of-Life in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Beset by Increased Flares and Higher Treatment Burden: Data from a Prospective Large Multinational Cohort [Tuesday 14 November 4:00pm]
International team including Vera Golder, Shereen Oon, Sean O’Neill, Fiona Goldblatt, Alberta Hoi, Mandana Nikpour and Eric Morand


L05 DICKENS: A Multicentre Randomised Controlled Trial of Diacerein for Knee Osteoarthritis with Effusion-Synovitis
Guoqi Cai, Graeme Jones, Flavia Cicuttini, Anita Wluka, Yuanyuan Wang, Catherine Hill, Helen Keen, Benny Antony, Barbara de Graaff, Michael Thompson, Tania Winzenberg, Kathy Buttigieg, Petr Otahal and Dawn Aitken

0267 Variations in Approach to the Diagnosis and Management of Polymyalgia Rheumatica Among Australian Rheumatologists
Victor Yang, Jem Ninan, David Liew, Helen Keen, Catherine Hill and Jessica Leung

0621 Scleroderma Renal Crisis: A Large Single-centre Experience
Rushab Shah, Laura Ross, Kathleen Morrisroe, Wendy Stevens and Mandana Nikpour

0625 Use of Heated Gloves for Raynaud’s Phenomenon in Systemic Sclerosis
Kimti Kumar, Nor Hashimah Abu Mansor Matardiah, Kim Griggs, Aline Kunnel, Jennifer Walker and Susanna Proudman

0634 Prevalence and Associations of Anaemia in Systemic Sclerosis Patients in a National Observational Cohort; Results from the Australian Scleroderma Cohort Study
Raychel Barallon, Gene-Siew Ngian, Diane Apostolopoulos, Dylan Hansen, Kathleen Morrisroe, Wendy Stevens, Susanna Proudman, Mandana Nikpour and Joanne Sahhar

0638 Application of the 2022 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Risk Assessment Model in Australian and Singaporean Systemic Sclerosis Patients with Newly Diagnosed Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
Zoe Brown, Dylan Hansen, Wendy Stevens, Nava Ferdowsi, Laura Ross, Alannah Quinlivan, Joanne Sahhar, Gene-Siew Ngian, Diane Apostolopoulos, Jennifer G Walker, Susanna Proudman, Gim Gee Teng, Andrea Hsiu Ling Low, Kathleen Morrisroe and Mandana Nikpour

1049 Enhanced Diagnostic Confidence with High Frequency Temporal Artery Ultrasound in Diagnosis of Cranial Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA)
Jem Ninan, Suellen Lyne, Julian McNeil, Joanna Tieu, Vidya Limaye, Susanna Proudman, Susan Lester and Catherine Hill

1054 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Induced Polymyalgia Rheumatica Demonstrates a Similar Scintigraphic Appearance to Classical Polymyalgia Rheumatica on 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT
David Liew, Aurora Poon, Christopher McMaster, Russell Buchanan, Victor Yang, Andrew Scott and Claire Owen

1196 Association of Long-Term Use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) with Worsening Symptoms and Structural Changes of Knee Osteoarthritis: An Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies
Zubeyir Salis and Amanda Sainsbury

1536 The Impact of COVID-19 Vaccination on ANCA Vasculitis Hospitalisations: A Perspective from Sydney Australia
Dane Turner, Grant Luxton, Kenneth Yong and Anthony Sammel

1793 Goblet Cell Specific Anti-Apoptotic Role of Interleukin-24 in Spondyloarthritis-Associated Ileitis
Amy Cameron, Rabina Giri, Jakob Begun, Timothy Wells, Ranjeny Thomas and Anne-Sophie Bergot

1890 Use of Artificial Intelligence to Diagnose Polymyalgia Rheumatica on 18F-FDG Whole Body PET/CT in Patients with Atypical Clinical Features
Emily Martin, Christopher McMaster, Saskia Rowson, Victor Yang, Aurora Poon, Bonnia Liu, Jessica Leung, Andrew Scott, David Liew and Claire Owen

2151 Effects of Methotrexate on Blood Pressure in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Sara Tommasi, Richard Woodman, Michael Wiese, Michael Shanahan and Arduino Mangoni

2302 Persistently Active Disease in Adult Patients with Childhood Onset Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Rachel Koelmeyer, Kate Gregory, Rangi Kandane-Rathnayake, Fiona Goldblatt, Sean O’Neill, Maureen Rischmueller, Mandana Nikpour, Geraldine Hassett, Pravin Hissaria, Darakanathan Ranganathan, Claire Barrett, Ashleigh Hennessey, Ted Tsai, Peter Gowdie, Eric Morand and Alberta Hoi

2408 The Use of the Southend GCA Probability Score (GCAPS) in Assessing the Risk of Giant Cell Arteritis in Australian Ophthalmological and General Medical Hospital Cohorts
Eloise Norman, Clare Fraser, Mitchell Lawlor and Anthony Sammel

Posters – International team with Australian authors

0170 Gender Equity Amongst Rheumatology Professionals: Preliminary Findings of the Coalition for Health and Gender Equity E-survey (CHANGE Group)
International team including Catherine Hill

0424 Real-World Effectiveness of Upadacitinib in Patients with Moderate/Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis: 6-Month Data from the Observational UPHOLD Study
International team including Andrew Östör

0721 Characterization of Numeric Rating Scales for Symptom Assessment in Polymyalgia Rheumatica
International team including Claire Owen

1326 Safety and Efficacy of Upadacitinib in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Refractory to Biologic DMARDs: Results Through Week 204 from the SELECT-CHOICE Study
International team including Maureen Rischmueller

1419 Impact of Psoriatic Arthritis Manifestations on Perception of Pain Improvement: Pooled Analysis of Two Phase 3, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Studies with Guselkumab
International team including Peter Nash

1425 Efficacy and Safety of Tofacitinib in an Open-Label, Long-Term Extension Study in Patients with Psoriatic Arthritis Who Received Adalimumab or Tofacitinib in a Phase 3 Randomized Controlled Study: A Post Hoc Analysis
International team including Peter Nash

1434 Long-Term Efficacy and Safety of Risankizumab for Active Psoriatic Arthritis: 148-Week Results from the KEEPsAKE 2 Trial
International team including Andrew Östör

1520 Identifying Core Domains for Clinical Trials in Systemic Sclerosis-Associated Raynaud’s Phenomenon and Digital Ulcers Using the Delphi Consensus Method
International team including Susanna Proudman and Virginia Hickey

1840 Value of Various Intra-Articular Injections for Knee Osteoarthritis Management
International team including David Hunter

1907 Selection of a Candidate Instrument to Assess Flare in Osteoarthritis with Content Matching with Endorsed Domains
International team including David Hunter

1965 Discordance Between Patient and Physician Perception of Disease Activity Among Patients with Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies: Results from the COVAD Study
International team including Jessica Day

1984 Therapeutic Effects of Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium on Clinical and Disease Modifying Outcomes in Subjects with Knee Osteoarthritis
International team including Divya Navuru, Ravi Krishnan, Charles Inderjeeth and Philip Bloom

1979 Weight Loss Induced by Anti-obesity Medications and All-cause Mortality Among Patients with Knee or Hip Osteoarthritis
International team including David Hunter

2239 Achievement of Disease Control in PsA Patients Treated with Upadacitinib at Week 152: Post Hoc Analysis of the Long-term Extensions of Two Phase 3 Trials
International team including Peter Nash

2262 Identifying Important Domains for Inclusion in a Novel Treatment Response Measure for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (TRM-SLE): Results of a Modified Delphi Study
International team including Kathryn Connelly, Rachel Koelmeyer, Darshini Ayton, Raychel Barrallon, Laura Eades, Vera Golder, Kate Gregory, John May, Rangi Kandane-Rathnayake, Maisarah Mydin, Munni Akther, Afia Anzum and Eric Morand

2263 Disease Activity Progression in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: An Analysis of the SLE Prospective Observational Cohort Study (SPOCS)
International team including Eric Morand

2395 Recommendations for Early Referral of Patients with Suspected Polymyalgia Rheumatica: An Initiative from the International Giant Cell Arteritis and Polymyalgia Rheumatica Study Group
International team including Elisabeth Backhouse, Helen Keen and Claire Owen

2487 Phase 2 Safety and Efficacy of Subcutaneous (s.c.) Dose Ianalumab (VAY736; Anti-BAFFR mAb) Administered Monthly over 28 Weeks in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) of Moderate-to-Severe Activity
International team including Alberta Hoi

The ACR abstracts that will change practice

Rheumatology Republic is hosting a post-conference webinar with expert commentary on the hottest research to come out of ACR 2023. Click here for more info or here to register.

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