2022 Annual Meetings: ATS and DDW®

June 28, 2022

American Thoracic Society and Digestive Disease Week® 2022

APFED attended two large medical conferences in California in May, both of which offered programming for health care providers to learn the latest in diagnostics, treatment, and research advances for eosinophil-associated diseases. In addition to attending sessions, we met with clinicians and researchers to raise awareness of these conditions, and to collaborate on projects to address the unmet needs and improve patient care.

Below are session and research highlights from the meeting.

American Thoracic Society

May 13-18, Online + San Francisco

The annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society is designed for professionals in the field of pulmonary, critical care. Programming for providers included diagnosis and management of eosinophilic asthma, hypereosinophilic syndromes, and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA).

Sessions offered discussion on optimizing the use targeting eosinophils in severe asthma, of biologic therapies to better manage moderate-to-severe asthma, pathophysiology and clinical presentation of severe asthma, its comorbidities and the burden of oral corticosteroids; and a special session specific to EGPA and HES that raised awareness of these conditions among clinicians and highlighted the role of multidisciplinary collaboration to facilitate diagnosis and management.

Among research highlights from the meeting are:

  • Results from the Phase 3 NAVIGATOR trial show half of patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma improved with Tezepelumab.
  • Results from the LIBERTY ASTHMA TRAVERSE study showed persistent reductions in oral corticosteroid (OCS) use in patients with severe, OCS-dependent asthma treated with dupilumab.
  • Retrospective study by researchers in Japan that showed mepolizumab and benralizumab are highly effective for patients with severe eosinophilic asthma.


Digestive Disease Week® (DDW)

May 21-24, Online + San Diego

DDW® brings together professionals in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. There were several sessions for health care providers to learn the clinical manifestations of eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease, how to diagnose EGID, and treatment options to manage symptoms.

Several research posters for EGID were presented during the meeting, including those that looked at disease burden and healthcare resource utilization, potential risk factors associated with EGID development such as environmental contaminants and early life factors, treatment impacts and comparisons, and the transcriptional and cellular landscape in EGIDs.


APFED Research Collaborations Presented as Posters at DDW®

This survey was completed by those registered in the EGID Partners patient registry (EgidPartners.org), which is an online patient-powered research network. “We identified preliminary associations between certain early life factors and non-EoE EGIDs including pregnancy complications, NICU admission and antibiotics in infancy.” More research is needed into the role that early life exposures play in non-esophageal EGIDs, and its overlap with EoE.


  • Perceptions of COVID-19 in the Eosinophilic Esophagitis Population. This survey among of APFED’s membership was conducted prior to emergency use authorization of a COVID vaccine. Results show that “COVID-19 has led to anxiety and interruptions in care in the EoE population,” and that “Providers should address anxiety, counsel about the vaccine, and create care plans that decrease pandemic-related delays”.


  • Hashing out current social media use in #eosinophilic_esophagitis. In this first study to ever look at social media usage in the context of EoE, the authors found that an overwhelming majority of patients and caregivers use various social media platforms to learn about the condition, however, those who use social media for this purpose don’t have a higher knowledge of the disease. People who did not use social media to learn about EoE cited distrust of content as the largest barrier to use.”


APFED Recognizes Outstanding EGID Abstracts at Disease Week DDW®

APFED partnered with the AGA (American Gastroenterological Association) to offer abstract awards for exceptional abstracts on Eosinophilic GI Diseases that were presented at Digestive Disease Week DDW®. The awards support the recipients work to present oral or poster presentations at the meeting, and stimulate additional interest in eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease research careers.

  • Takeo Hara, MD, PhD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA
    Title: Adenosine supports epithelial homeostasis and autophagy in eosinophilic esophagitis.
    Summary: This study examined the effect of CD73-derived adenosine (an important chemical in the cell) in the lining of the esophagus. Dr. Hara found that by adding adenosine to cells may ultimately improve the lining of the esophagus.  His team concluded that adenosine supplementation may offer a new therapeutic approach for EoE.
  • Michael Wang, BS, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC
    Title: The importance of routine gastric and duodenal biopsies on follow-up endoscopy for patients with eosinophilic esophagitisSummary: Through a retrospective study, they found that routine gastric and duodenal biopsies during endoscopy (GDB) in patients with EoE, resulted in almost half of abnormal GDBs with a change of therapy. Additionally, almost 1 in 12 of patients with EoE were reclassified as eosinophilic gastritis or eosinophilic duodenitis.
  • Melissa Nelson, MD, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, TX
    Title: il-13/il4rα Signaling increases tension in human circular esophageal smooth muscle through increases in expression and phosphorylation of cpi-17: Potential contribution to reduced esophageal distensibility in EoE
    Summary:  Most studies have examined the role of cell signaling pathways in the mucosal layer of the esophagus and its role in EoE.  This study found the cellular signaling pathways in the smooth muscle layer of the esophagus that could be affected by EoE. Likewise, these pathways could be future therapeutic targets.