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ISR Spring Meeting deemed a ‘great success’

By Priscilla Lynch - 26th May 2024

ISR spring meeting

The Irish Society of Rheumatology (ISR) 2024 Spring Meeting was “a great success with a wide range of topics covered, with a specific focus on pregnancy in rheumatology patients”, according to ISR President Dr John Ryan, Consultant Rheumatologist, Cork University Hospital.

During his opening address to the meeting, Dr Ryan expressed his gratitude to his predecessor Prof Geraldine McCarthy for her exceptional leadership of the ISR during her extended presidency throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Her unwavering optimism, even amidst the toughest days of the Covid-19 pandemic when the prospect of in-person meetings seemed bleak, was truly commendable. While the days of quarantining feel distant now, it was always a pleasure to attend an ISR board meeting with Geraldine leading the way,” he said.

Dr Ryan also thanked ISR CEO Mr Michael Dineen and the rest of the ISR staff for their work in putting together such a successful Spring Meeting.

While there were many highlights, Dr Ryan told the Medical Independent that there had been a lot of interest in the presentation on AI in medicine given by Prof Erwin Loh and that the talk on the issue was now turning from innovation to regulation.

“I think that is a huge challenge for Ireland. AI and the companies involved – no one country can set regulations that they will abide by; they are bigger than any country.

“In medicine, we could end up adopting what has worked elsewhere and will leapfrog from a paper-based system to a cutting edge one… things are evolving rapidly.”

At the end of the meeting, Dr Ryan presented the research prize to Dr Anitha Sokay, National Centre for Paediatric Rheumatology, Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin, who won the Best Clinical Case presentation with a project entitled: ‘Not so “SAVI” after all! A diagnostic and therapeutic conundrum’.

Dr Sokay and colleagues presented a case of a 11-month-old female baby with a SAVI-like phenotype, but unsupportive genetics. This case enhances current understanding of interferonopathies, the authors said, as although the phenotype and course of the disease was compatible with SAVI, genetic testing was negative. Presently there are 11 heterozygous gain-of-function variants for SAVI, with JAK inhibition as the most successful therapeutic option to date. The case possibly represents an as yet unreported genetic variant, but further studies are awaited.

Dr Ryan praised the quality of the research presented at the meeting and submitted for consideration from units across the country.

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