The Year in Review session during ACR Convergence 2020, this year’s fully virtual annual meeting, will cover a variety of topics in rheumatology, including drug safety, precision medicine and the unforgettable and unrelenting consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two speakers will select research articles and highlight the year’s significant findings in clinical and basic science.
ACR Convergence 2020 begins Nov. 5. The 60-minute Year in Review block will be held at 5 p.m. EST as part of the day 1 lineup.
Clinical Science Presentation
Jinoos Yazdany, MD, MPH, professor and chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, will give the clinical science review. A specialist in systemic lupus erythematosus, Dr. Yazdany conducts research on the epidemiology and outcomes of rheumatic diseases funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the leading federal agency responsible for improving the safety and quality of the U.S. healthcare system. She is also chair of the ACR’s Committee on Registries and Healthcare Information Technology.
In August, as she set about selecting specific papers to feature in her session, Dr. Yazdany writes in an email to The Rheumatologist that she is honored to be presenting some of the exciting ways the field of rheumatology is rapidly growing.
During her clinical science review, Dr. Yazdany plans to discuss the intersection of COVID-19 and rheumatic diseases illuminated in recent noteworthy research. “This has been a historic and unusual year, with the pandemic weighing on rheumatologists,” she says.
Other highlights will include a review of new drug approvals for rheumatic diseases and key developments in the management of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, the spondyloarthropathies, osteoporosis and other rheumatic conditions.
“The explosion of therapeutic options continues in rheumatology, with many new therapies hitting the market,” Dr. Yazdany says. “As therapeutic options expand, it’s important for rheumatologists to keep track of new data on drug safety.” She notes that several key trials that have expanded our knowledge of drug safety will also be addressed during her presentation.
Basic Science Presentation
The Year in Review presentation on basic science will be presented by Richard Bucala, MD, PhD, chief of rheumatology, allergy and immunology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., and rheumatologist-in-chief at Yale New Haven Health. Dr. Bucala is the immediate former editor in chief of Arthritis & Rheumatology. He was instrumental in developing macrophage migration inhibitory factor inhibitors to treat autoimmunity and cancer and in the discovery of fibrocytes, which are being targeted for interstitial lung diseases.
In his review, Dr. Bucala plans to cover insights in high-dimensional molecular profiling and new clinical phenotypes and how they may lead to effective therapies and improve predictions of patient outcomes. All have implications for the better application of precision medicine, notes Dr. Bucala in an interview with The Rheumatologist.
“Lupus is an example of a disease with little insight into which patients will respond to treatment,” Dr. Bucala says. “The hope is that better characterization can be achieved through the use of high dimensional molecular profiling.”
Depending on any new information that may be published closer to the annual meeting, Dr. Bucala hopes to highlight up to 10 papers published in the past year.
“I think an area that’s important is better targeted therapies for precision medicine,” he says. “Some of those insights will come from the increasing use of sophisticated, high dimensional profiling technologies,” which allow researchers to better characterize subtypes of disease. Such information may be used to make better-informed prognosis for patients and more informed therapeutic choices.
“It also could potentially allow us to identify new targets or new pathways that may be amenable to therapy,” Dr. Bucala says.
Further, use of sophisticated computational algorithms to analyze characteristics of a particular cell or a molecular signaling pathway may help identify correlations and associations not possible in previous years, according to Dr. Bucala. However, computational approaches, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, are techniques that require thoughtful application because of the intrinsic complexity of rheumatologic diseases.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see the Year in Review presentations and other expert sessions on important rheumatology topics during ACR Convergence. Register now.
Catherine Kolonko is a medical writer based in Oregon.