The 31st Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) is currently being held in Barcelona, from 7 to 10 of October, 2015. As the biggest scientific event focused on Multiple Sclerosis, researchers and clinicians from around the world, with more than 8,000 participants, gather to present and discuss the latest developments in Multiple Sclerosis.
Prof. David Miller, ECTRIMS Vice President and Chair of the Scientific Congress Committee noted, “ECTRIMS hosts the world’s largest annual international conference devoted to basic and clinical research in multiple sclerosis, attracting more than 8,000 participants from around the world. The 2015 Congress programme is designed to tackle the main topics signaling the path for future MS management. At this meeting, we are discussing what is in store for diagnosis, what is the next step in treating patients and how we can shape treatment to suit each individual’s profile. One of the hot topics is the question how the environment continues to influence the evolution of MS. In this regard, one session reports on the epidemiology of MS around the world.”
Regarding this point, a group of researchers are currently tackling the prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis outside Europe and North America, as Prof. David Miller highlighted, “Studies from several parts of the world, in particular some Asian and Arab countries, Iran, Latin America as well as Australia and New Zealand, demonstrate an increase in the prevalence of MS around the world over time. It will be important that policy makers take these developments into account when planning health care resources and researchers will need to engage in a more in-depth analysis as to which factors might be contributing to this development.”
A key topic at ECTRIMS is the ongoing clinical trials since, as Prof. David Miller explained, “The ECTRIMS Congress is traditionally an important forum for MS researchers to present latest trial data that will have an impact on future treatment decisions and strategies. This is all the more important as there is an increasing number of drugs available – with up to 12 agents in many European countries and several more to come soon.”
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“Contrasting data are presented as far as the comparison of the two second-line treatments fingolimod and natalizumab are concerned. While data from a French multicentre observational study provides evidence in favour of natalizumab as compared to fingolimod to decrease disease activity as assessed by relapses or new MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] lesions within the first year after treatment onset, new Danish registry data showed no difference, not even a trend, between the disease activity in natalizumab- and fingolimod-treated RRMS [relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis] patients. The “Late Breaking News” session on Saturday morning will also highlight other new therapeutic research including new data on repurposed treatment,” added Prof. Miller.
Additional sections being discussed at ECTRIMS include the following topics – Unmet needs in progressive MS; MS prevention and risk reduction: Genes and environment interact; New data on MS risk factors: Lack of sunlight, gut microbiome and fatty acids; Increasing MS prevalence in many parts of the world.
Multiple Sclerosis News Today, from the BioNews Services group, plans to cover the ECTRIMS 2015 Congress and offer the readers real-time data and updates as they are disclosed at the meeting.