5 Things to Look for at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session

Several key clinical trials will be presented at the upcoming meeting in Washington, DC.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) will hold its 66th Scientific Session in Washington, DC, next week on March 17-20, 2017. One of the largest scientific meetings of the year, ACC typically attracts about 18,000 attendees. This year, the conference will present 23 late-breaking clinical trials, with several simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology or the New England Journal of Medicine. Here are 5 things to look for at ACC:

1. Results from the FOURIER trial

Amgen has already announced that its injectible cholesterol fighter, evolocumab (Repatha), met its primary and key secondary endpoint in the long-term cardiovascular outcomes trial, so the big question will be how much benefit the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitor provides. With recent court victories in its patent war with Sanofi and Regeneron, sponsors of rival alirocumab (Praluent), Amgen will be anxious to share this clinical news as well.

2. EINSTEIN CHOICE to compare rivaroxaban with aspirin

This phase 3 study will present results comparing the anticoagulant rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and aspirin for extended treatment for people who have experienced an initial venous thromboembolism, or VTE. Once a person has VTE, he or she is at increased risk of having a second blood clot. The primary endpoint was recurrent VTE plus cardiovascular events and safety endpoints, including bleeding.

3. An intensive on health equity

ACC intensives—deep dives into current topics—are well worth the time if schedules allow. The topic, “Are we there yet? The Long Journey to Health Equity?” examines the magnitude of health disparities in cardiovascular disease and the impact on health. Speakers will cover the effects of culture and language; race, risk, and resistance; and the role of partnerships in achieving better health outcomes.

4. The effects of marijuana on heart health

Today, 1 in 5 Americans lives in a state where marijuana is legal, yet the FDA has not studied the safety or effectiveness of this drug. Results from Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, which were previewed before the conference, will be presented that show that marijuana use is an independent risk factor for heart attack and stroke. The researchers studied records from 20 million patients.

5. Results for SGLT2 Inhibitors

Featured research from the CVD-REAL study will report on hospitalization rates for heart failure on sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, a new and popular class of therapy in treatment of type 2 diabetes. One drug in the class, empagliflozin, has been shown to have a CV benefit, but results for more drugs in the class are anticipated before the end of the year.