Here at RPF, one of the taglines you’ll often hear us use is, “together, we can do more.” We firmly believe that by working together – as patients, caregivers, researchers, healthcare professionals, industry professionals and more – we can make great strides towards improving the lives of people with rheumatoid disease (PRD). Each year at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting, we get a chance to connect in person with people from all of these realms that touch the lives of PRD. It’s an opportunity not only to represent the patient voice to rheumatologists and pharmaceutical companies; it’s an opportunity to begin conversations about how we can collaborate for the good of others. It is this kind of collaboration and teamwork that allowed us to have such a successful event this year.
The 2019 ACR Annual Meeting took place November 9-13 in Atlanta, GA. RPF had almost its entire board of directors represented there, along with several other volunteers to help run our exhibit booth. The exhibit space is part of a large “Exhibit Hall” where companies and organizations can showcase their latest work and provide information to attendees. RPF had a space there where we offered free educational resources to healthcare providers – including a brand new poster for doctors’ exam rooms that gives an overview of what rheumatoid disease is and what sorts of symptoms may occur, including symptoms outside of the joints. We also showcased some of our programs, such as our public service announcement billboard campaign and Rheumatoid Awareness Day campaign. We could not have run the exhibit booth without the support of our amazing volunteers.
This year’s ACR was extra exciting for us, as we also have a research project we’ve been working on in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, and out of that collaboration we had four research abstracts that were published and presented at the event. Three of the research abstracts were presented on giant printed posters in the “Poster Hall” which showcases hundreds of posters each day, each highlighting important new rheumatology research. One of our research abstracts was chosen for an oral presentation, which was given by RPF founder, Kelly O’Neill. We had some great interest in our posters and Kelly’s presentation was excellent and engaging. You may recall us conducting a survey earlier this year. If you completed that survey, know that YOU also contributed, as some of our research was based on this data. Click here to learn more about the research we presented at ACR this year, as well as some of our other prior research projects.
We also had the opportunity to connect with industry organizations and other non-profits at ACR. Chiefly among these was our newest partner, Scipher Medicine, who sponsored our attendance at this year’s event. We were able to meet face to face with the Scipher Medicine team while we were together in Atlanta, and it was very exciting to hear more about the research they are doing that could lead to more effective treatment for PRD. Scipher Medicine is currently conducting a clinical trial for a blood test that could help identify non-responders to anti-TNF drugs (typically the first biologic drugs that are prescribed to PRD). If we could know ahead of time which people are not likely to respond to those drugs, it could allow those people to skip over that class of medications, to not waste precious time on ineffective treatments, and get onto something else immediately that may have a better chance of working. This is an important step as we all hope to reach a state of more personalized medicine where we can make informed treatment decisions based on the individual. If you’d like to support Scipher Medicine’s work in this area, please visit their website to see if you qualify for their clinical trials, or share the trial information with others.
ACR is such a huge event, that it is impossible to share everything we experienced in one blog post. For that reason, we’ll have several of our other attendees writing about their own experiences at ACR this year and what they learned and saw from their perspectives. As we bring 2019 to a close, we are more eager than ever to continue our work and grow our team of collaborators and volunteers, never quitting until we reach a day when no one suffers from rheumatoid disease.
Thanks to our Sponsor, Scipher Medicine!
RPF would like to thank our sponsor, Scipher Medicine, for helping to cover the costs to attend this year's ACR Annual Meeting. We are grateful for their support of our mission and the work that they are also doing to improve the lives of people with RD.
Scipher MedicineTM holds a fundamental conviction that patients with autoimmune diseases deserve a simple answer to their treatment options using scientifically-backed data. The company’s mission is to get patients the right drug from day one by developing tests that predict non-response to targeted therapies, starting with rheumatoid arthritis. Scipher’s PrismRATM is a simple blood test, currently in a clinical trial, that identifies patients who won’t respond to anti-TNFs before starting their first biologic therapy, potentially giving these patients access to alternative approved targeted therapies sooner. Many RA patients take anti-TNF therapies, yet most of them do not respond adequately. Scipher is determined to find these patients and get them the right drug from day one. To learn more, visit www.sciphermedicine.com.