Amidst the lectures, courses, abstracts, and clinical trials presented at the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney Week 2012 will be a single overarching theme, with an eye on the future of the field.
“In every specific area in any given session, there is going to be talk towards a cure,” said Mark E. Rosenberg, MD, Chair of the ASN Postgraduate Education Committee and Director of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University of Minnesota. “We are going to present the basics, clinical science, and clinical reviews, and a common theme is how we can move towards curing these diseases.”
This year's meeting, to be held Oct. 30 to Nov. 4 at the San Diego Convention Center, will feature several new sessions that build on the theme and present advances in the field.
Among the new items will be a diverse sampling of state-of-the-art lectures.
“This will be the intellectual feast of the meeting,” said Manikkam Suthanthiran, MD, Chair of the ASN Program Committee, Stanton Griffis Distinguished Professor in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Founding Chair of the Department of Transplantation Medicine and Chief of Nephrology and Hypertension at the New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The first state-of-the-art lecture, “Tolerance and Kidney Transplantation,” will be given Thursday, Nov. 1, by David H. Sachs, MD, Director of the Transplantation Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Paul S. Russell/Warner–Lambert Professor of Surgery (Immunology) at Harvard Medical School.
The following day, William L. Roper, MD, MPH, will discuss “Health Care Reform in America—Past, Present, and Future.” Dr. Roper is Dean of the School of Medicine, Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs, and Chief Executive Officer of the UNC Health Care System at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Eric D. Green, MD, PhD, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, will give a lecture called “Entering the Era of Genomic Medicine: Research Opportunities and Challenges” on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Capping off the series will be Robert W. Schrier, MD, Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado, speaking about “Where Kidney Disease Was and Where It Is Headed.”
There will be two additions to the early program: Dialysis Facility Medical Directorship, which will be held Tuesday, Oct. 30, through Wednesday, Oct. 31, and Renal Relevant Radiology, which is offered on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
“The Dialysis Facility Medical Directorship is one that the ASN has never done before, and it's needed,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “Almost every dialysis unit has a medical director.
“This course was developed by two doctors who have much experience in this [Alan S. Kliger, MD, and J. Michael Lazarus, MD]. It goes through some of the regulatory compliance and legal topics, and the specific aspects of being a medical director. The theme of leadership is key.”
The one-day Renal Relevant Radiology course will cover the ever-changing area of radiological tests, including some of the specifics of established tests like ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans, as well as cutting-edge topics like molecular imaging of the kidney and alternative contrast agents.
Also new in 2012 is a focus not just on the nephrologist, but on the nephrology care team, Dr. Suthanthiran said.
“We had a PharmD on my Program Committee and nursing represented. There is going to be continuing nursing and pharmacy education.”
The content presented at the meeting will span the nephrology spectrum, with comprehensive learning pathways offered in acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, transplantation, and immunology.
Basic Science to Clinical Trials
About 400 abstracts will be presented in platform at the meeting, and 3,400 in poster, Dr. Suthanthiran said.
Two particular sessions that Dr. Rosenberg expects to be especially popular are Hot Science and High-Impact Clinical Studies.
“We are hoping to present some of the most exciting and hottest developments, both from a basic science standpoint and a clinical standpoint,” he said. “The high-impact clinical studies are going to incorporate what have been late-breaking trials.”
Diabetes also will be a popular topic, Dr. Suthanthiran said.
“There is a special emphasis on diabetes given that diabetes is going to be the most common cause of end-stage renal disease in the United States.
“It is very difficult to pick and choose, but I do think genomic medicine is going to be very interesting. Nanomedicine is going to be exciting, and, from an overall review perspective, health care reform will be very revealing.”
The moderators will take an active role at each meeting session.
“Many times I think we waste the expertise of the moderators,” Dr. Suthanthiran said. “This year, one of the moderators will introduce the overall theme of that particular symposium, and the other moderator will summarize it at the end of the talk.”
Tips for Attending
A large conference like ASN Kidney Week may seem overwhelming, but a good plan of action can assist attendees in getting the most out of the meeting. Dr. Suthanthiran suggests starting off by attending the state-of-the-art lecture.
“There won't be any competing session at the time of the state-of-the-art lectures, so in the morning you will start bright-eyed and bushy-tailed going to these, and then the challenge happens,” Dr. Suthanthiran said. “It will defy physical laws of time and space to go to everything. One can pick and choose.”
This year's conference will again have an app, which Dr. Rosenberg recommended using to prepare to attend the meeting. The app features interactive maps, the complete program, a personalized schedule function, and social media integration.
Drs. Rosenberg and Suthanthiran hope attendees will find the meeting invigorating.
“I want them to be excited being in this field,” Dr. Suthanthiran said. “I want them to be enthusiastic about great progress.
“There are several exciting opportunities and challenges to solve, and, despite discussions of health care and nephrologist shortages, we have a lot of wonderful things. I want them to go back better educated and excited.”