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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.
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.
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.
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.
The Angiogenesis, Exudation, and Degeneration meeting, sponsored by Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, always offers a great overview of the status of research in retinal diseases. And there is a long list of drugs/therapies in development to treat retinal diseases, but there isn’t anything on the near horizon that experts believe will be a game changer.
This meeting, attended mostly by interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons, provided a good opportunity to review the therapies available and in development to treat peripheral artery disease, pulmonary embolisms (PEs), and aortic aneurysms -- atherectomy devices, drug-coated balloons, stents (bare, drug-eluting, and covered), aspiration devices, embolic protection, and more. There wasn’t much breaking news, but the meeting offered an overview of trends in device usage. There was even an update on new percutaneous cardiovascular devices.
Sanofi officials discussed the litigation going on with Amgen over Praluent (alirocumab), a PCSK9 inhibitor that it is marketing with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
One of the really interesting aspects of this meeting is the way discussion of a presentation is handled. The discussants don’t reiterate the key findings, which is often the case at other meetings. Instead, they critique the presentation, raise questions about it, and challenge the findings, and they do it in an almost brutal manner. Then, the speaker gets a chance to address those concerns. It really was very refreshing and something that other societies would do well to emulate. Thirty cardiac and thoracic surgeons were interviewed at STS, and they offered a really consistent picture of what is happening in the field in terms of concomitant atrial fibrillation (AFib) ablation, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) vs. surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR), and a new pulmonary homograft.