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Our Annual Conference programme is live. We’ve asked Heberden Committee members, in charge of developing the conference programme, to tell us what we should expect for 2022.


The Essentials stream forms a major part of our Annual Conference education programme. The aim is to provide all delegates, medics and allied health professionals with an update on a broad spectrum of topics. This year’s programme again focuses on practical aspects – 'What do you need to know?', so you can take that learning into your clinical practice. 

In Symptom management, you'll hear about chronic non-bacterial osteomyelitis and synovitis, acne, pustulosis, hyperostosis and osteitis, prevention of fragility fractures with a focus on new paradigms and treatments, and inflammatory eye disease, an important area in our rheumatology patients that requires close collaboration with our ophthalmology colleagues.

Disease management covers a connective tissue disease theme with a focus on common diseases and difficult aspects of these diseases. Starting with current and future treatment pathways for lupus, covering giant cell arteritis, and finishing with ear, nose and throat disease, a really challenging area of vasculitis. 

To top it off, the experts in the field session covers JAK inhibition, juvenile-onset lupus and dermatomyositis, and the newly described autoinflammatory syndrome VEXAS – an exciting discovery which crosses rheumatology haematology inflammatory disease and is a syndrome we all need to understand and recognise.

Translational research 

In the science sessions, expect to learn about glucocorticoids, cells to target in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the microbiome. 

Since their initial discovery more than 60 years ago, glucocorticoids have played a major role in the management of complex inflammatory diseases such as RA. However, their therapeutic application has been severely limited by systemic side effects such as osteoporosis, muscle wasting and increased cardiovascular mortality. In this session we'll learn about some of the latest strategies being employed to develop safer, better tolerated glucocorticoids for the treatment of chronic inflammatory disease. 

Why is it that the clinical response is largely the same if you target a B-cell or T-cell in RA? What about the other cells of the joint such as the macrophage and fibroblast – what role do they play? In a highly-anticipated debate session, we'll learn from basic scientists about what the individual cells are doing in RA and how they talk to one another in disease. This discussion is key as we think about whether personalised treatments (right drug for right patient) is achievable and worth pursuing in RA.

The microbiome is increasingly being recognised as a significant contributor to host responses, affecting predisposition to disease course of disease and response to treatment. With a dedicated session on this topic, you will learn about how the gut and skin microbiomes do this and how we might manipulate the microbiome to alter disease risk and management.

Multi-disciplinary team 

The conference brings a wide range of clinical, service improvement and consultation skills learning opportunities. A wide range of oral sessions are available to update rheumatological condition knowledge, educational strategies for rheumatological conditions, therapy techniques, and consideration of musculoskeletal health at work. 

Paediatric and adolescent rheumatology 

Dr Jo Walsh has curated a fantastic dedicated paediatric and adolescent stream on Day 2 which brings you the latest updates on heart lungs and inflammatory disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and innovations in paediatric and adolescent rheumatology with some of the highest-rated abstracts from the conference. Plus, a parallel stream dedicated to paediatric and adolescent allied health professionals and nurses bringing you sessions on working with young people with autism and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes.

Trainees stream 

This dedicated stream covers systemic sclerosis diagnosis and treatment including a detailed look at capillaroscopy, an up-to-date overview of treatment and bone marrow transplant in systemic sclerosis from a rheumatology and haematology perspective. 

In addition, you’ll get a comprehensive update on spondyloarthropathy and psoriatic arthritis, an increased understanding of the skin manifestations, as well as the magnetic resonance imaging findings associated with spondyloarthropathy.

See the full programme