The ECCO Congress offers an ideal opportunity to learn, share and interact. This was also the main purpose of the 6th Basic ECCO: EduCational COurse for Industry, held on Wednesday, February 16, 2022. The course aimed to provide corporate and non-corporate members who have recently entered the field of IBD with an introduction to IBD, focussing on the clinical essentials and ‘need-to-knows’. Despite the obvious challenges relating to the format and the pandemic, 34 registrants attended the course.
The course opened with a personal introduction on how an IBD patient presents for the first time to the physician, what IBD means for a patient and how it impacts daily life. This tandem talk with a physician and patient highlighted the fears and anxieties before diagnosis. This was followed by a routine and practical approach to achieving the diagnosis and the use of biomarkers, imaging and endoscopy for accurate classification and determining the risks for complicated outcomes. The key role played by IBD Nurses in this early phase of illness was highlighted, particularly with respect to provision of the necessary support and disease-specific patient education. Geert D’Haens then spoke eloquently about the cornerstone of optimal care, which is teamwork in a multidisciplinary approach, whereby gastroenterologists, surgeons, nurse specialists and patients work towards common goals. This included some practical examples highlighting the importance of close collaboration between all members of the direct health care team.
The second session focussed on therapies and opened with an introduction from Peter Bossuyt about the need to have an individualised strategy for treatment in IBD. Treatment options are expanding rapidly but the ‘old drugs’ such as 5ASAs and immunosuppressants continue to have their role. Our understanding of and experience with the use of conventional biologics and the new kids on the block have evolved, and treatment choice and sequencing will take into account a number of disease- and patient-related factors. Evolution of newer treatment approaches targeting the microbiome may change our treatment paradigms suggested Harry Sokol, who highlighted the ongoing research on faecal microbial transplantation and other microbiome therapeutics. The final talk of the session, from Laurent Beaugerie, reminded us of the safety considerations when using therapies in our IBD patients and of what we have learned so far from pharmacovigilance studies.
The final session addressed surgical aspects of IBD and clearly concluded that surgery should not be considered as a therapeutic failure but as a valid option in suitable patients. The speakers highlighted the need for an MDT-based decision with respect to the use of a surgical approach.
Overall, the spotlight of this course was the unmet needs of patients with IBD. In the state-of-the-art lecture, Peter Bossuyt delved into the unknowns in IBD, the unmet needs as of 2022 and the areas on which the academic community and industry need to focus their attention and where investment in research is needed.
At the next ECCO Congress in Copenhagen in March 2023 we will welcome our industry partners for the 6th Advanced ECCO: EduCational COurse for Industry, where we will focus on positioning of therapies with newer drug developments and do a further deep dive into treatment strategies with new and upcoming drugs.
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