American Urological Association (AUA)

Among the therapies discussed at AUA this year were: new therapies for benign prostatic hyperplasia, treatment of overactive bladder, prostate cancer tests and treatment, PD-1/L1 inhibitors for renal cell carcinoma and urothelial cancer, locally-delivered therapies for bladder and urothelial cancer, and robotic treatment of kidney stones.

FDA Advisory Committee Review Of Puma Biotechnology's Nerlynx (Neratinib) In Breast Cancer

The FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 12-4 that the benefits of Puma Biotechnology’s Nerlynx (neratinib) outweigh the risks in HER2+ breast cancer patients who have completed treatment with Roche/Genentech’s Herceptin (trastuzumab). However, many panel members felt the label should be narrowed to limit the time between completion of Herceptin treatment and the start of Nerlynx.

American College Of Cardiology (ACC)

There was a lot of trial data at ACC, with a huge focus on hypercholesterolemia drugs, but also news on transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), bioresorbable stents, Novartis’ Entresto for heart failure, a new strategy for use of Abiomed’s Impella that could boost use, and more marketing studies for novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs).

American Academy Of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)

Orthopedic surgeons generally consider robotic surgery for total joints unnecessary and a marketing gimmick, but spine surgeons believe there could be real value for robotic navigation. n Orthopedic surgeons have been big prescribers of opioids, and AAOS has a big push to change that. One partial solution is intra-operative anesthesia, but doctors, if they use anything, generally prefer their own cocktail of drugs to Pacira Pharmaceuticals’ Exparel. n For the first time in decades, total joint replacement volume may decrease somewhat over the next 1-2 years despite the aging population, and there are a number of reasons for this. n CMS’s bundling project in orthopedics is raising interest in ways to lower cost – and that may increase interest in less expensive device options, including rep-less implants like those from Smith & Nephew/Syncera or lower-cost offerings from companies like United Orthopedics Corporation (UOC).

American Society Of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)

Until recently, the only real options for people with opioid use disorder (OUD) were either methadone or, more commonly, abstinence (behavioral therapy) – perhaps with 12- step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. In the last few years, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has been gaining in popularity, and MAT was a huge focus at the ASAM meeting.

Society Of American Gastrointestinal And Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES)

Robotics was a hot topic at SAGES this year. One in four U.S. hospitals is reported to have at least one (and often several) of Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robots. The major impediments to clinical use of robots by general surgeons have been (1) cost, (2) lack of standardization in training, and (3) lack of outcomes data.

Healthcare Information And Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

More than 42,000 people attended this annual meeting. Chief information officers (CIOs) said their budgets are up, but the money generally isn’t going for new electronic health record (EHR) systems. In fact, perhaps for the first time, most of the CIOs questioned at the meeting didn’t have any specific items on their shopping list. In other years, that list has included population health, computerized physician order entry, e-prescribing, etc. This year, while there is significant interest in cybersecurity and population health, CIOs just didn’t have a buy list or a short list of companies to check out.

American Academy Of Dermatology (AAD)

More than 18,000 people attended the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) annual meeting, and more than 9,800 of these were medical professionals. This included a large number of non-U.S. doctors, particularly from South America. The exhibit hall was busier than at many other medical conferences, but that was likely due to the generous product give-aways. This report is split into two parts: medical dermatology and cosmetic dermatology.

ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium

There were no data or major announcements at this meeting. It was more of an Immunology 101 course, with most of the focus on the basics of immunotherapy for cancer. There was a lot of attention to CAR T therapies and biomarkers, though none of the many biomarkers being investigated has been able to show clear utility in predicting which patients will respond to immunotherapy drugs or even for monitoring patients on those agents. The role of the microbiome also came up frequently.

Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Some years, the focus at this meeting – which is jointly sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), and the Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO) and attended by >3,000 cancer specialists – is on prostate cancer, but this year renal cell carcinoma (RCC) got more attention than prostate cancer.

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