THE OFFICIAL NEWS SOURCE OF ACR CONVERGENCE 2022 • NOVEMBER 10-14



Pediatric sessions at ACR Convergence focus on bench-to-bedside connections

Eyal Muscal, MD, MS
Eyal Muscal, MD, MS

The pediatric sessions at ACR Convergence 2021 will challenge attendees to think like a researcher and consider topics that haven’t been in the program in recent years.

“In continued efforts to complement and dovetail the adult science at the meeting, we will have multiple sessions that discuss precision medicine and rational immunosuppression in rare pediatric rheumatic diseases. A host of sessions will provide updates that are relevant to both the clinician and clinical researcher that takes care of children with pediatric rheumatic diseases,” said Eyal Muscal, MD, MS, Chief of Rheumatology, Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.

One of the many highlights of the pediatric programming will be the Saturday, Nov. 6, session Immuno-Smithing: Pathway-Based Analysis of Rheumatic Disease at 2 p.m. ET, in which physician-scientists will review mechanisms and clinical scenarios of immune dysfunction in children with rare autoinflammatory diseases.

“The speakers’ charge for this session is to synthesize their understanding of this science for an audience that may be clinically focused and not involved in clinical or translational research. The session may help them think of how we develop targeted, rational therapies that have more benefit than risk with getting to the heart of which immune system pathways are dysregulated or hyperactive and how to dampen that inflammation with as little organ damage as possible,” Dr. Muscal said.

A session on Thursday, Nov. 4, will address the effects of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in children who have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19. COVID-19 Hyper-inflammation: MIS-C & Other Pediatric Complications, which is part of the Basic and Clinical Research Conference, will begin at 1 p.m. ET.

“Since we are still in the midst of the pandemic and still dealing with the inflammatory consequences of primary COVID, this session brings together rheumatologists and a cardiologist to think about inflammation and cardiac involvement in MIS-C,” Dr. Muscal said.

The science of COVID-19, along with other traditional rheumatic disorders, will also be addressed in Pediatric Rheumatology Year in Review & Awards, starting at 9 a.m. ET Saturday, Nov. 6. Leaders in clinical and translational research will discuss seminal papers and topics from the past year related to pediatric rheumatology.

An expert panel will discuss pediatric bone health during Updates on Osteoporosis in Children with Chronic Inflammatory Diseases at 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday, Nov. 6. The subject has been featured in the adult programming at the meeting but not on the pediatric side for some time.

“These are issues that we constantly think about due to disease activity and corticosteroid usage, but we haven’t brought in speakers to discuss pediatric osteopenia and osteoporosis,” Dr. Muscal noted.

Pediatric experts from the U.S. FDA will provide an update on pediatric rheumatology drug indications and the movement of select adult drugs to the pediatric bedside in Pediatric Rheumatology FDA Update, at 10:30 a.m. ET Monday, Nov. 8.

“It is important for clinicians to understand where the adult drug development pipeline is headed and how to translate scientific achievements to medications that are approved for both specific indications. An understanding of pharmacology and the drug development process may also impact off-label usage of agents that improve the quality of life and reduce the suffering of children with rare immune-mediated disorders,” Dr. Muscal said.

All sessions at ACR Convergence 2021 will be recorded in advance and conclude with a live question-and-answer period, including Pediatric Thieves Market: Show Me Your Best Cases! at 2 p.m. ET Monday, Nov. 8.

“The trainees that submitted cases give their presentations, and then there is voting on the best cases and discussions after the fact,” Dr. Muscal said. “These are unknown cases that are either novel or may stump the audience.”

Expanded pediatric-specific networking activities will provide even more opportunities for engagement at ACR Convergence 2021.

“We’ve all gotten good at virtual environments, and this year I’m excited that there will be more content in the Pediatric Community Hub. There will be content that will be much more interactive,” Dr. Muscal said, citing networking activities tailored for fellows, junior faculty, and early-career scientists. An exciting session in the hub will be a reprise of last year’s Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group (PRCSG) breakout meeting, he noted.

“That hub will allow us to get a sense of being in the same room,” Dr. Muscal continued. “We all miss seeing each other and interacting virtually still enhances a sense of community.”

Other pediatric sessions highlighted by Dr. Muscal include:

Ethics of Biobanking & Genetic Research in Pediatric Rheumatology
Sunday, Nov. 7 | 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. ET

Thought leaders in the field will discuss ethical issues concerning biobanking and genetic research, including the implications for research subjects and scientists involved in collecting samples and understanding the genetics of pediatric rheumatology disorders.


Updates in Juvenile Systemic Sclerosis
Sunday, Nov. 7 | 11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET

This session will provide pediatric rheumatologists—physicians and nurse practitioners—with an understanding of new aspects of research on and medications used in the treatment of juvenile systemic scleroderma (JSS). Organ-specific issues, transplantation, and cellular therapies in JSS will be covered.


Addressing Health Disparities in Pediatric Rheumatology: Learn from Other Specialties to Plot the Path Forward
Sunday, Nov. 7 | 4 – 4:45 p.m. ET

Rachel J. Thornton, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will review disparities in health and social inequities in pediatric rheumatology. This is a critical topic in pediatric rheumatology and all medical fields as health inequities impact social determinants of health and potentially worsen many rheumatic disease outcomes.

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