Authors: Peter Brown
Over 8000 of the world’s most prominent clinical and research professionals will soon gather for the 32nd annual ECTRIMS congress to present and learn the latest data within the field of MS. With over 60 sessions over more than 2000 abstracts, this year there will be a particular focus within the topics of imaging, immunomodulation/immunosuppression, clinical assessment tools, long-term treatment monitoring and risk management for disease-modifying treatments.
ECTRIMS aims to enhance and promote research and learning among professionals within the field of MS in order to benefit those affected by facilitating communication and collaboration.
Key presentations from the 2016 program will include parallel sessions on ‘Insights to long-term treatment effects from MS registries and databases’ and ‘Long-term outcome after presentation with a clinically isolated syndrome’. These two sessions will examine long-term prognostic markers, treatment effects and clinical outcomes across timescales of up to 15 years, utilizing data from 12 different studies.
Another area of interest will be exploration of data focused on altering initial treatment of early active relapsing-remitting MS, utilizing potent therapy prior to escalation and discussing the relative merits when compared with the standard immunomodulation method, as well as novel research reviewing B-cell-mediated pathogenic mechanisms and effects of B-cell depletion therapies currently in clinical trials.
As there is currently no effective treatment for progressive MS, the ‘New directions in progressive MS research’ session, researchers discuss improvements in diagnosis, monitoring drivers of disease progression and removing potential bottlenecks in clinical trials.
Furthermore, the congress will explore how the pathomechanism evolves to gain a more precise understanding of the disease, including looking at immune system-mediated tissue damage and mitochondrial dysfunction. New therapies that focus on modulating immune responses and lymphocyte migration will also be discussed.
Two sessions will concentrate on ‘recent advances in MS imaging’ and ‘new techniques to image neuroprotection and repair’ where advances within imaging techniques, particularly MRI, OCT and PET will be discussed, primarily focusing on the impact of monitoring treatments that prevent disability and disease progression.
Additionally, there will be a special session outlining the continued developments in rehabilitation and symptomatic treatments that are improving symptom management and disability delivered by the co-organisers of ECTRIMS, Rehabilitation in MS.
Prof. David Miller, Vice President and Chair of Scientific Committee of ECTRIMS, commented: “We have seen huge advances in MS research in recent years and the implications from new potential therapy options, alongside new imaging techniques and mechanism of action could have profound effects on improving treatment and care for patients. I would encourage anyone in MS research or clinical practice to attend the congress as it is vital we mobilise the community and share our understanding to drive forward research across Europe and the globe.”