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What Makes the Congress Unique?

Antiphospholipid Antibodies (aPL) constitute a major acquired risk factor for thrombosis; clinical symptoms together with aPL defines the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). aPL occur in patients with and without autoimmune illnesses. In those without, the public health impact is significant: aPL occurs in 14% of those with stroke; 11% with myocardial infarction; and 10% with deep vein thrombosis (Andreoli et al. Arthritis Care Res 2013;65:1869). Much remains unknown about the origin and function of aPL, the pathogenesis of clinical manifestations, the role of additional risk factors for thrombosis, and the management of persons with aPL.

The International Congress on aPL is held every three years and is truly a global meeting. Traditionally, the Congress has been a venue for scientists and clinicians from multiple disciplines to discuss recent innovative and important research to prioritize research questions, and to set a roadmap for future research in thrombosis and APS. Since the description of a simple method of identifying anticardiolipin antibodies in 1983 (then thought to be a proxy for lupus anticoagulant, which has been identified in late 1950s), and the distinction between the syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in 1989, 14 International Congresses have described the clinical phenomena of APS, defined classification criteria and mechanisms, tested anticoagulant therapies, described non-criteria manifestations, and explored new mechanisms.
At the time this proposed Congress takes place, recent advances in both the basic and clinical sciences of thrombosis and APS will permit us to address findings regarding mechanisms of antibody origin and effect, mechanisms of injury, and clinical trials with new generation oral anticoagulants and immunosuppressive treatments, e.g., anti-B cell therapies, complement inhibition, statins, hydroxychloroquine, and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors in APS.

In addition to aPL/APS-related sessions, we will incorporate general topics in the agenda that may guide researchers and clinicians interested in APS. Some of these topics will include: thrombotic angiopathies, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, management of thrombosis in general populations, new antithrombotic agents, genetic approaches in the study of rare diseases; animal models of thrombosis; clinical trial design and implementation; international funding opportunities including NIH applications, and data management and analytical strategies in rare disorders.

The Scientific Planning Committee members of the 15th International Congress on aPL have been or will be invited to the meeting as speakers and to chair sessions on their areas of expertise. The Scientific Planning Committee will identify additional speakers. The meeting will produce a “state-of-the-art APS book”, coedited by Drs Doruk Erkan (Chairman of the Congress) and Michael Lockshin (Honorary Chairman of the Congress), entitled “APS – Current Research Highlights and Clinical Insights”.