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Society Of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM)

Shock – mostly septic shock but also cardiac shock – was a big topic at the meeting. Although in-hospital mortality from shock – distributive (septic) and cardiac – has declined, it is still alarmingly high. The first new drug in many years was recently approved for distributive shock, La Jolla’s Giapreza. However, critical care doctors are taking a cautious approach to this new agent. In cardiac shock a key message was the need to get more of these patients to the cardiac cath lab – and get them there fast. The meeting was also an opportunity to see if or how CAR T therapy for cancer patients is impacting intensive care units (ICUs).

Angiogenesis, Exudation, And Degeneration 2018

Retinal diseases are an active area of research, not just to find and test new drugs and gene therapies but also to develop new imaging approaches and to better understand the underlying pathology. n Wet AMD: It was disappointing that the Phase II data for Novartis’ brolucizumab, a longer-acting anti-VEGF, were expected but not presented. Does it really last longer? n Geographic atrophy: Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ APL-2, a Complement 3 inhibitor, and Stealth BioTherapeutics’ elamipretide both looked interesting. n Dry AMD: Hemera Biosciences’ HMR59, a gene therapy, had positive early data. n Diabetic macular edema (DME): The star of the day was Roche’s RG-7716 in diabetic macular edema, which showed efficacy better than Roche/Genentech’s Lucentis.

American Academy Of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)

Hip and knee replacement volume is holding fairly steady. Hip and knee implants are now so good that implant companies are looking for other ways to differentiate themselves. Robotics has become the hot technology – but there are still no outcomes data for robotic surgery, and payors are fighting reimbursement for CT scans. They key players are: Stryker’s Mako – pricey but dominant, Zimmer Biomet’s Rosa – when is it coming and what is the secret robotic arm, Smith & Nephew’s Navio – portability is key; OMNI’s OMNIBotics – simple and affordable; Think Surgical -- a real robot; J&J – late to the game but may surprise.

American College Of Cardiology (ACC)

The American College of Cardiology shortened their meeting this year, condensing it into three days, and they were three very busy days. Among the key trials reported were ANNEXA-4, ODYSSEY Outcomes, VEST, PIONEER-HCM, and MOMENTUM-3.

Bulletin: American Association For Cancer Research (AACR) – Preview

For the first time, AACR held a web conference with reporters in advance of the annual meeting (April 15-18) in Chicago. Four studies were highlighted: CAR T cell quality, HER2 breast cancer resistance, disparities in clinical trial participation, and the link between chlamydia and ovarian cancer.

International Symposium On Endovascular Therapy (ISET)

This appeared to be a smaller, quieter ISET than last year. There was little controversy at ISET this year, but lots of interesting data. Among the key findings: Embolic filters are a must for carotid stenting, and there are a number that work well; the benefit of drug-coated balloons appears to fade over time; EVAR and TEVAR continue to gain popularity; there is real interest in using thrombectomy for pulmonary embolisms, but more data are needed; and while small bore vascular closure devices are underutilized, large bore VCDs are in strong demand because of the growth of procedures like TAVR.

American Academy Of Dermatology (AAD)

More than 18,000 people attended AAD this year. While the news was mostly in medical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology was alive and well, and this was one medical conference where there was not a shortage of doctors on the exhibit floor. It’s an exciting time in medical dermatology, with new drugs looking promising for acne, atopic dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, hyperhidrosis, and psoriasis. There are also drugs in development for pemphigus vulgaris, but it is too early to say if they are promising. In cosmetic dermatology Allergan’s Kybella for submental fat has not taken off strongly, but device therapy looks more promising, particularly with Cynosure’s SculpSure. New toxins appear to offer both longer duration than Allergan’s Botox and short duration for new uses. Vaginal therapy is becoming mainstream, though not targeted for dermatologists. And there are some notes on onychomycosis and melanoma.

FDA Advisory Committee Rejects Expanded Approval For Pacira's Exparel

An FDA Advisory Committee rejected an expansion of the label for Pacira Pharmaceuticals’ Exparel to include nerve blocks. The panel wasn’t convinced of the efficacy because the trials had mixed results and did not use an active comparator. And the panel was worried about the safety, particularly deaths and falls. Despite a strong presentation by the company and some compelling endorsements by the public speakers, the panel said new trials are needed.