December 06, 2023 - Yelena Sahakian, PharmD
The UEG (United European Gastroenterology) Week, which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, from October 13 to 17, marked a significant milestone in the landscape of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treatment. This year’s conference, themed “Ingest the Best,” brought forth pivotal moments for the field of gastroenterology.1
This international event stood out for its distinctive focus on emerging therapies, representing a shift toward more effective and targeted approaches in IBD management. Notably, the discussions also delved into other cutting-edge mechanisms and therapies, including S1P receptor modulators, which hold immense promise in revolutionizing the treatment landscape. The spotlight was on the transformative potential of newer treatments that are reshaping the way we approach and manage this complex ailment.
As we shift our focus toward ulcerative colitis (UC), a prevalent and chronic form of IBD, it’s crucial to recognize how these innovative therapies, including S1P receptor modulators, are addressing the unique challenges that UC patients face. While exploring the broader landscape of IBD management, it’s equally important to understand the distinct impact that these treatments can have on the lives of those affected by UC. The emergence of innovative therapies—particularly noteworthy for their efficacy in specific subpopulations—opens new avenues in addressing the unmet needs in UC, a chronic ailment afflicting 1.25 million people worldwide that brings with it a host of debilitating symptoms.2,3 These include persistent diarrhea accompanied by blood and mucus, along with abdominal pain and a sense of urgency. The unpredictable and chronic nature of these symptoms can significantly impact the daily lives of those affected.4-7
The introduction of these therapies represents a substantial stride forward for IBD patients who have been eagerly awaiting new treatment options. The availability of more targeted and effective treatments not only provides hope but also demonstrates the remarkable progress in IBD research and development.
Attending UEG Week and other gastroenterology congresses provides a profound perspective on the complexities of managing IBD, offering invaluable insights into the challenges and innovations within the field. Symposia and expert sessions delve into the collaborative approaches between the patient and health care practitioner, necessary for effective IBD management.
Pragmatic strategies for leveraging real-world evidence to optimize patient outcomes are also described. Engaging with established key opinion leaders further enriches the experience, providing a platform for shared knowledge and best practices.
Beyond the professional engagements, exploring the host city and partaking in the local culture adds a unique dimension to these experiences. It fosters a sense of camaraderie and community among professionals dedicated to advancing IBD care.
Reflecting on these enriching experiences, the broader IBD community eagerly anticipates future opportunities like this—in which learning, networking, and inspiration converge in the pursuit of scientific advancement and better patient outcomes. Conferences serve as catalysts for progress, driving the development of therapies that hold the potential to significantly improve the lives of IBD patients worldwide. The strides made in Copenhagen are emblematic of the collective dedication to advancing the standard of care in IBD treatment, and they lay the foundation for even greater breakthroughs in the future.
- United European Gastroenterology Week. The global reference point for the digestive health community. Accessed October 2023. https://ueg.eu/
- Lewis JD, Parlett LE, Jonsson Funk ML, et al. Incidence, prevalence, and racial and ethnic distribution of inflammatory bowel disease in the United States. Gastroenterology. 2023;165(5):1197-1205.e2.
- Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. What is ulcerative colitis? Accessed October 2023. https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/what-is-ulcerative-colitis
- Hanauer SB. Inflammatory bowel disease. N Engl J Med. 1996;334(13):841-848.
- Irvine EJ. Quality of life of patients with ulcerative colitis: past, present, and future. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008;14(4):554-563.
- Armuzzi A, Tarallo M, Lucas J, et al. The association between disease activity and patient-reported outcomes in patients with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis in the United States and Europe. BMC Gastroenterol. 2020;20(1):18.
- Ordás I, Eckmann L, Talamini M, Baumgart DC, Sandborn WJ. Ulcerative colitis. Lancet. 2012;380(9853):1606-1619.