ACTRIMS 2023: Forum opens Thursday with theme of ‘going viral’

Presentations at Feb. 23-25 meeting span role of viruses to mental health

Lindsey Shapiro, PhD avatar

by Lindsey Shapiro, PhD |

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An illustration for the ACTRIMS Forum shows a globe spotlighting North America and surrounded by nerve cells.

The multiple sclerosis (MS) community is gearing up for the eighth annual Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum, taking place this week both virtually and in San Diego, California.

The yearly meeting, occurring Feb. 23-25 at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, is bringing together researchers and clinicians to discuss the latest scientific discoveries and advances in the understanding of MS mechanisms, treatment approaches, and patient care.

There will be more than 400 poster presentations and numerous scientific talks over the course of the three-day meeting.

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‘Going viral’ at ACTRIMS includes the advance of technologies in MS care

This year’s ACTRIMS is themed “MS: Going Viral,” a nod to progress toward uncovering the role of viruses in MS onset and progression. This includes the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which has emerged as a leading environmental cause of MS in recent years.

Another focus will be on ways in which viral infections, like COVID-19, might impact MS treatment and care.

“Not only are we going to talk about viruses and their implications in multiple sclerosis but also about how social media and other types of viral dissemination of knowledge can enhance our ability to manage multiple sclerosis,” Mark Freedman, MD, ACTRIMS president, said in a video.

Freedman is a professor of neurology at the University of Ottawa and director of multiple sclerosis research at Ottawa Hospital in Ontario, Canada.

The theme also refers to new technologies that are “going viral,” such as artificial intelligence and advanced imaging techniques. It recognizes that as these technologies are incorporated into MS research and clinical trials, they’ll guide new approaches to clinical decision-making.

A host of other topics will also be covered, ranging from disease biomarkers to genetics, pregnancy, and patient quality of life, among many others.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today will have a team on-site at the conference providing in-depth and comprehensive coverage of the latest information coming out of the meeting.

Coverage will include articles on research being presented, patient perspectives, interviews, and live updates on MS News Today‘s social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. All coverage from the meeting will be available here; follow along on social media using the hashtag #actrims2023.

One goal of ACTRIMS is to support young investigators with an interest in MS by providing them with opportunities to present their work and learn more about career paths in MS research and clinical practice.

As such, the forum’s first platform session will consist of talks from six young investigators, addressing themes that include psychiatric symptoms before an MS diagnosis, the role of the gut microbiome in MS, and the association between spinal cord changes and clinical disability across MS subtypes.

The forum also will host its first industry hub, where attendees will have the opportunity to interact with industry members who support MS research, including pharmaceutical companies that market MS treatments or are developing experimental ones.

With opportunities for researchers, clinicians, and industry leaders with differing perspectives to interact, ACTRIMS participants will come away from the meeting with new knowledge about scientific advances and hot topics in the field, as well as optimized approaches for patient treatment.

Through our ACTRIMS Forum 2023 coverage, Multiple Sclerosis News Today aims to bring these insights directly to our readers and the broader MS community.

Note: The Multiple Sclerosis News Today team is providing in-depth coverage of the ACTRIMS Forum 2023 Feb. 23–25. Go here to see the latest stories from the conference. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for live updates using the hashtag #actrims2023.