18th Congress of European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation in Copenhagen

From 1st - 4th of March 2023 the 18th Congress of ECCO took place in the Bella Center in Copenhagen. The participants enjoyed the fascinating Scientific Programme revolving around the theme of “Sequencing in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)” held by the best professionals in the field of IBD and gastroenterology.

Finally, after three years of virtual meetings, face to face discussions in the congress venue took place again. In addition to oral presentations a guided poster exhibition with more than 900 contributions was organised and allowed for a lively exchange.

Various ImmUniverse partners contributed to the state-of-the-art programme. ImmUniverse partner Laurent Peyrin-Biroulet of CHRU de Nancy, who is an internationally-recognised expert in IBD, opened the conference as current ECCO President. In ImmUniverse, Laurent and his team are involved in work package 6 on the bioclinical hub.

Séverine Vermeire of KU Leuven was chairing the session on “Looking for the right sequence” which gave new insights on molecular signatures and how they can be used to select the best treatment option for the individual patient. “Very interesting original work was presented from the SPARE-Biocycle research group on blood proteins depicting the risk of relapse in patients who discontinue infliximab. The EPIC-CD consortium on the other hand presented results on validated panels of highly stable, epigenetic biomarkers that predict clinical and endoscopic response in Crohn’s disease patients treated with adalimumab, vedolizumab or ustekinumab. Together, these studies show that we are finally making progress in predicting prognostic and therapeutic outcomes in IBD”, summarised Séverine Vermeire. She is actively involved as principle investigator in clinical trials with new therapeutic compounds. Her scientific work resulted in more than 600 peer-reviewed articles and focuses on the role of the microbiome and genetic susceptibility in IBD and on identifying prognostic and predictive signatures of treatment response.

In the frame of session “Can we do better with current drugs?”, Stefan Schreiber of Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel gave a talk on predicting drug response and personalisation of treatment. He presented the work that is also related to a recent publication (Mishra et al., 2022) and the poster presentation by his colleague Florian Tran, also from the Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel. In collaboration with ImmUniverse partner Sanofi they identified a population of early super-responders in ulcerative colitis that achieved complete disease control under targeted therapy (poster P722).

Samuel Elias Pineda Chavez and Stefania Vertrano of Humanitas University gave some insights into Low-Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound as a new approach of gut disruptive liquid biopsy to boost the release of mucosal extracellular vesicles in Ulcerative Colitis (poster P117).

ImmUniverse partners attending the conference also took the opportunity to meet on-site and discuss recruitment progress as well as challenges that still need to be overcome following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please watch the ECCO ’23 closing film for some visual impressions.

The next congress is already scheduled and will take place on 21st -24th of February 2024 in Stockholm for the 19th Congress of ECCO - Crossing borders in IBD !

© by Freepik