ECTRIMS – Prof G Day-1 Update

I have now been at ECTRIMS for just over 24 hours. I arrived
Monday night and started with a dinner meeting (nice local restaurant – no champagne). Got to discuss what I think about the MSer/patient pathway and where I see service development in  the future. Got back to my hotel at 11pm and worked until 2am. Got up up at 6.30am on Tuesday and did 2 hours
work preparing my lecture for the teaching course. For those of you who are interested I have posted the lecture on
the web for you. I then h
ad a quick breakfast and caught up with some close friends in
the hotel lobby. Fortunately, my morning meeting was cancelled so I could do
some more work on my lecture and process a few emails; I have over 1900 emails in my inbox. I then went to a lunchtime meeting of
the BioMS Consortium (Biomarkers in MS) and left early for the NH Hotel at the airport for the teaching course; the trip was 35 minutes. I can’t understand why the organisers held the teaching course so far out of town. My talk went well and I returned
to conference centre to attend a steering committee meeting that lasted 3 hours. The committee meeting was in
relation to one of the new DMTs. The meeting was mainly focused on safety ; there was no bad news presented. I then went for a quick dinner with
the members of the steering committee at a local restaurant attached to the hotel
(no champagne; the wine was served in carafes). The food was tasty; too much cream! I skipped
pudding and returned to my room at 10pm. I worked until 1.45am and slept well.
Was up at 6.30am doing emails, preparing my plenary talk for Saturday and blogging. From now
have back-to-back meetings with literally no space in my diary until I leave for home late on
Saturday afternoon.

I caught a glimpse of the exhibition floor last night as the Pharma stands were being assembled. It is no different to last year, possibly more flash. It is clear that the Red Queen is alive and running; that is running on the spot and going nowhere in a hurry. I really wonder if the classic/traditional marketing model that Pharma adopts is the best way to get neurologists to prescribe their drugs. In fact I would be surprised if Pharma knows how to measure the cost-effectiveness of their marketing at meetings such as this.

I went through all the teaching material and platform presentations last night. I don’t think there is going to be anything ground-breaking presented at this year’s ECTRIMS. There is a lot of recycled data from the clinical trials and some new data on me to drugs. A lesson that will come across loud and clear is that we are not very good at measuring progressive disease and our current trial design needs an overhaul. I am therefore looking forward to hearing the talks from Jeremy Hobart and John Zajicek on the CUPID study and Fred Lublin and Garry Cutter on the Combi-Rx trial. 

Enough for now! May be a glass of champagne tonight?

16 thoughts on “ECTRIMS – Prof G Day-1 Update”

  1. To summarise: meet some mates, nice meals, late nights, possibility of champagne. Research breakthroughs unlikely.Mouse Prof – keep up the good work. Good to know that protestant work ethic is alive and well in East London.

  2. Anon 10.37 Maybe you're trying to be funny but it comes off as snideMy head is spinning at schedule and the thought of 1900 emails

  3. The point I'm trying to make is that 3,000 MS researchers / neurologists are travelling from all over the world to meet in Lyon for 4 days. Think of the costs – flights / hotels / meals etc etc. Why are they meeting? To talk about the research they are working on / to hear from the pharma companies. I would have hoped for one major breakthrough to be announced. If not, all the organising etc looks a bit wasteful. Perhaps you think differently!

  4. In my opinion Prof G's peer-conclusion of the event is too pesimistic for those of us who are looking for some good news. I would wait until the end of the congress on Saturday to support his statement. Maybe the short sleeping hours and the overwhelming amount of e-mails are driving his pesimism. Anyway I am thankful for the amount of information and personal point of view provided.

  5. I think there are a few interesting things already coming out of ECTRIMS.For example, a phase 2 trial of Simvastatin was announced as being successful in slowing brain atrophy, progression and improved MSIS-29 (a measure of the impact of MS on daily life).We're also due to hear about MIS416 which is another for progressive MS as well as some reports from a Danish trial on Tysabri for progressive MS. More experimental things include lots of studies regarding stem calls as well as LOTS of mice studies including an interesting one on lipoic acid as a possible neuroprotector.In the news today is also the MUSEC trial on cannabis pills for stiffness and spasms etc (2 x number of people as placebo experienced relief). Also, the GALA trial has been positive meaning people on Copaxone can take a high dose, 3 x per week instead of every day and expect similar results. Not groundbreaking but halving the number of injections needed can't be a bad thing for GA users! Anyway, we're not going to hear about a cure, of course, or even something totally out of the blue but I think ECTRIMS will show lots of steady progress in a number of areas.

  6. Dr. G:Curious why you're so interested in the Combi-Rx talk. I was actually in that trial, and, while I was happy to participate, my understanding was that the interferon/GA combination showed no benefit above just one medicine.

  7. A few more interesting pieces from ECTRIMS:Novatis are to present their phase II results of BAF312 (siponimod) in RRMS which, along with pre-clinical work, are apparently suggestive of "direct CNS effects that may be relevant for treatment of SPMS" and are moving to a phase III study of BAF312 for SPMS. They are also to present proof-of-concept for secukinumab for RRMS.

  8. BAF312 is a more refined version of gilenya. Gilenya affects S1P1, S1P3, S1P4, S1P5 receptors BAF is more selective for S1P1 and S1P5 so it may have less side-effect potential than Gilenya, but Gilenya should have same efficacy as it targets the same receptors as BAF. Gilenya is on trial in progressive MS already. BAF313 disappears quickly so has safety value.I have looked at the three abstracts (494, 792,934) and there is nothing there suggestive that it of relevance to SPMS, except that it gets in the brain. Someone will tell me that S1P5 receptors are present in the brain. Yes it is, why is this special for SPMS. Maybe they will show it induces myelin repair.So maybe the poster Anon 3.48 is an Novartis employee who knows what is going to be presented.You progressive MSers say that there is nothing for you so I willplug the planned phase III study in secondary progressive MS called EXPAND (NCT01665144), so if you are in Canada Hungary or Turkey keep your eyes peeled for a chance to be on the trialYou may find that as Gilenya reaches its sell by date…BAF312 will be ready to replace it.Secukinumab is a neutralizing interleukin 17 antibody it is called AIN457 in abstract, so further evidence that Anon 3:52 is from Novartis.Could be wrong:-)

  9. I think when Prof G was talking aboutnothing ground breaking he was referring to stuff that is just round the corner for people with MS. Stuff in phase II trials are many years from becoming drugs.

  10. Mouse Doc I think your haunch is right. When I first read Anon's posts about ECTRIMS I thought the same (i.e. pharma person/sales rep).

  11. MANIPULATING THE MOUSE.Funny after the post on the Novartis showing at ECTRIMS, we wondered whether it was posted by an Novartis spy.However if they had putI think this is outrageous pharma spin would go to the webpage to look and the point of the advertisement/press release would be made. i.e. Product awareness.So having though about it, maybe Mr/Ms Angry at Anon 10.50 was a Biogen spy directing us to a press release. It achieves the aim of people lookingSo there is a lesson for fake posters – dress your spin in a seemingly negative way and it is more likely get through unnoticed.So maybe we have fewer disgruntled MSers that's a positive thought

  12. Did he? Didn't he? Get the champagne.I saw a picture of members of Team G having a hard time eating oysters…Yuck…Mouse food is much better

  13. 3000 neurologists and researchers going to Lyons means a lot of money and carbon. But you never know – eating oysters and snails together may just lead to other things: more cooperation, fresh ideas, …

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