ECCO News keeps ECCO Members up-to-date on what is going on within the organisation and reports on IBD activities taking place within Europe. Since Spring 2006, ECCO News has maintained the flow of information between Members of the organisation.
ECCO News is an important part of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation’s ambition to create a European standard of IBD care and to promote knowledge and research in the field of IBD. ECCO Members automatically receive this publication four times a year.
The educational programme of the 16th Congress of ECCO starts prior to the official start of the ECCO Congress and courses take place from July 7-9, 2021. These activities target ECCO’s different interest groups including young gastroenterologists, surgeons, paediatricians, pathologists, IBD Nurses, dietitians, allied health professionals and scientists.
An overview of these activities can be found below. Please note that courses/workshops may run concurrently. As these educational activities have a limited capacity, we encourage you to register at your earliest convenience.
The Scientific Programme of the 16th Congress of ECCO provides attendees the unique opportunity to learn from the world’s leading specialists in the field of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Held from Thursday to Saturday, July 8-10, 2021, the Scientific Programme is structured around basic science, translational medicine and clinical sessions. Additionally, it includes oral presentations of the 40 best abstracts of the Congress. The focus of all sessions is clinical practice founded on science with practical take home messages and, as every year, the congress registration fee includes access to all scientific sessions.
Register now and seize the opportunity to hear current and relevant studies from international experts in IBD!
We are all facing the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The numerous virtual meetings that are held every week have helped us to realise how important real interaction is in a community, and this is especially true for ECCO. This virus has forced us to develop virtual clinics that allow our patients to stay at home and reduce the disease burden. This is probably the only benefit of the pandemic.
Name of group: IBD section of the Finnish Society of Gastroenterology
Number of active members: The Finnish Society of Gastroenterology has 540 members. The IBD section has 30 registered active members.
Number of meetings per year: 2–3
President and Secretary: The Finnish Society of Gastroenterology: Johanna Louhimo (president). The IBD section: Pauliina Molander (president) and Clas-Göran af Björkesten (secretary)
National Representatives: Tuire Ilus and Clas-Göran af Björkesten
Joined ECCO in: 2004
Incidence of IBD in the country: The incidence of IBD in Finland is one of the highest in the world and there has been a significant increase in this incidence during the past 20 years. UC is more common than CD. IBD incidence is 42/100,000 persons per year (UC 31/100,000 and CD 11/100,000).
Britta Siegmund is Medical Director of the Medical Department, Division of Gastroenterology, Infectiology and Rheumatology at the Charité - University Hospital Campus Benjamin Franklin Berlin, Germany. She has recently been accredited with the position of the new President-Elect of ECCO and we were happy to conduct an exclusive interview with her.
For the convenience of our ECCO News readers we recorded the interview and put it in an audio file. We hope you will enjoy listening to interesting facts about our President-Elect.
The BIOCYCLE project has now been ongoing for 5 years. This project, funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme, aims to explore different aspects of the question of treatment de-escalation in moderate-severe Crohn’s Disease that first requires combination therapy with anti-TNF and antimetabolites to control the disease. Once the disease has been stabilised, an unsolved question is to whether it is possible to de-escalate therapy. This question is important for several reasons, including safety, tolerance, quality of life and costs, to name the most prominent. BIOCYCLE comprises nine work packages, including a randomised three-arm, controlled clinical trial on 210 patients in seven European countries, several patient and health care provider surveys in Europe and the United States, a biomarker research programme and pharmaco-economic analysis. ECCO is mainly involved in the monitoring of the project (through SciCom and ClinCom) and is the work package leader for dissemination of the results. BIOCYCLE is a 7.5-year project and was launched in April 2015.
Glen Doherty is a consultant gastroenterologist at the Centre for Colorectal Disease at St Vincent's University Hospital and University College Dublin (UCD) as well as Research Director of the Centre for Colorectal Disease. In addition, he serves as an Executive Board member of the Irish Society of Gastroenterology (ISG). He joined GuiCom in 2016 and has been the chair for the last year.
The anti-TNF monoclonal antibody infliximab offers an effective treatment for patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) refractory to conventional immunomodulator therapies. Successful biologic therapy can lead to clinical and endoscopic remission as well as reduced hospitalisation and requirement for surgery .
Unfortunately, as a large protein and chimeric antibody, infliximab is immunogenic and this frequently leads to formation of anti-drug antibodies (ADA), with subsequent secondary loss of response (LOR), drug discontinuation and adverse reactions . Identifying patients at increased risk of developing antibodies prior to treatment may establish which individuals require closer drug level monitoring, concomitant immunomodulator therapy and observation for adverse events.
Previous work by Sazonovs et al. identified the first genetic locus to be robustly associated with immunogenicity to anti-TNF therapies . The HLADQA1*05 allele variant rs2097432, carried by approximately 40% of Europeans, significantly increased the rate of formation of infliximab ADA. In the study reviewed here, Wilson et al. aimed to independently identify whether presence of the variant allele was associated with increased risk of ADA formation, LOR, drug discontinuation and adverse events.
Perianal fistulising Crohn’s Disease is a challenging phenotype affecting more than 20% of patients diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It is associated with debilitating symptoms and significant morbidity, with subsequent reduced quality of life and increased disease-related work disability.
Currently treatment remains challenging, incorporating surgical and medical management; the latter is driven largely by biologic agents, specifically anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) agents such as adalimumab (ADA) and infliximab (IFX). Whilst ADA and IFX have proven efficacy in inducing and maintaining fistula healing and closure, a significant proportion of patients fail to respond or lose response over time. Increasing evidence suggests that this is in part due to sub-therapeutic drug levels, with or without the presence of antibodies to anti-TNF agents (ATA), with higher target drug levels required for fistula healing compared to mucosal healing in Crohn’s Disease. However, data evaluating the correlation between anti-TNF levels and perianal fistula outcomes, particularly with ADA, remain limited.
The aim of this study was to assess the association between anti-TNF levels and perianal fistula healing and closure with maintenance ADA and IFX therapy.