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Highlights from the EAS 2017 Prague Opening Ceremony and the Anitschkow Lecture

Sunday 23 April 2017   (0 Comments)
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85th EAS Congress Opens with a light touch of Prague magic!

New EAS President Professor Lale Tokgözoğlu (Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey) welcomed all to what promises to be an exciting programme at this year’s Congress. This year’s Congress has broken all past records, with over 2300 delegates attending from across the globe, reaffirming the unique position of EAS at the forefront of research, education and advocacy.

Alone and in partnership with other associations, EAS has published a number of guidelines and consensus statements on cardiovascular disease prevention as well as the management of dyslipidaemia. The most recent Joint Society collaboration has been a Task Force Statement from both the EAS and European Society of Cardiology providing much needed clinical guidance on the use of PCSK9 inhibitors in routine practice.1 An update is anticipated with results from the FOURIER (Further Cardiovascular Outcomes Research With PCSK9 Inhibition in Subjects With Elevated Risk) cardiovascular outcomes trial with evolocumab. And EAS Congress provides the first opportunity to delve into and discuss the FOURIER data.

Some of these guidelines and consensus statements have been translated to clinician friendly handbooks and apps; an updated app for the 2016 Dyslipidaemia guidelines2 will be launched during Congress.

This Congress will also highlight the first data from the EAS Familial Hypercholesterolaemia Studies Collaboration (FHSC). This important initiative already has more than 60 key opinion leaders in FH taking part, aiming to lead from the front in FH research and patient advocacy.

‘Education is the lighting of the fire; and EAS more than fulfils this. We hope to light some more fires at this year’s Congress’ EAS President Professor Lale Tokgözoğlu

President of the International Atherosclerosis Society Professor Yuji Matsuzawa (Emeritus Professor of Osaka University, Japan) welcomed delegates.
‘Congratulations to the EAS for the exciting programme and continuing success in ongoing research and education initiatives. Congress also provides excellent networking opportunities with colleagues.’

Professor Tomáš Zima, Rector of the Charles University Prague, one of the oldest Universities in Europe, welcomed all EAS Congress delegates to Prague. ‘EAS clearly supports research, providing stipends for more than 400 young delegates so that they can gain from the experience of EAS Congress.’

And as EAS Congress Chair Professor Michal Vrablik (Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic) clearly reminded delegates: ‘You are the most important participants at Congress: learn, discuss and most importantly, don’t forget to network!’

2017 Anitschkow Award recipient, Professor Alan Tall (Columbia University, New York, USA) gave an intriguing lecture covering highlights of his research in lipoproteins, including his role in elucidating the part that cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) plays in the regulation of human lipoproteins, providing an impetus to the development of the CETP inhibitors. The development of these agents has, however, followed a rocky road, which may in part relate to off target effects, unanticipated effects on reverse cholesterol transport, as well as underpowered and too short clinical trials. Professor Tall confirmed that the REVEAL (Randomized EValuation of the Effects of Anacetrapib Through Lipid-modification) study with anacetrapib has now been completed and results are anticipated in the summer.

A key feature of Professor Tall’s lecture related to the link between haematopoiesis, cholesterol and atherothrombosis. He overviewed recent data showing that thrombopoietin signalling via JAK2 stimulated haematopoietic stem cell proliferation, whereas LNK had an inhibitory role. Genetic studies provided further insights, with JAK2 gain of function variants and LINK loss of function variants both shown to be associated with myeloproliferative neoplasms and atherothrombosis. Moreover, the combination of both LNK deficiency and hypercholesterolaemia was associated with an increase in thrombosis.

These findings not only highlight the relevance of interactions between genes and the environment, but may also provide insights to explain the commonality between cardiovascular disease and cancer.3 Aging is associated with an increased frequency of mutations in hematopoietic cell (clonal haematopoiesis), and if these mutations are in genes encoding epigenetic modifiers, this can promote expansion of mutant blood cells and atherosclerosis. As Professor Tall emphasised: ‘This is an important emerging area – not a niche - given that clonal haematopoiesis affects more than 10% of individuals aged over 65 years. As a recent example, he cited experimental studies of a JAK variant which was characterised by defects in red blood cell and macrophages leading to increased erythrophagocytosis; the red blood cells lost the ‘don’t eat me signal’. This accumulation of red blood cell material increased macrophage inflammation and, as a result, promoted atherosclerosis. Clearly an area of research to watch for the future.

In concluding his lecture, Professor Tall reaffirmed the unique position of the EAS. ‘The EAS represents a United Europe in the very best way’

Enjoy EAS Congress and check back for news, views and the daily reports. 


1. Landmesser U, Chapman MJ, Farnier M et al. European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society Task Force consensus statement on proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 inhibitors: practical guidance for use in patients at very high cardiovascular risk. Eur Heart J 2016 Oct 27. pii: ehw480. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Catapano AL, Graham I, De Backer G et al. 2016 ESC/EAS Guidelines for the Management of Dyslipidaemias.  Atherosclerosis 2016;253:281-344.

3. Tall AR, Levine RL. Cardiovascular disease: Commonality with cancer. Nature 2017;543:45-7.


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