After a nearly 3-year hiatus, the International Liver Congress 2022 will resume as a hybrid experience with an expansive scientific program that emphasizes the importance of technology-driven research and development.
“It is becoming clear to us that people have a very strong desire to meet their colleagues and friends in person — on-site registration reflects that,” Ben Hainsworth, managing director of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, told Healio. “I think all of us who work in health and medicine are also now much more aware of the interconnectedness of our work. The fascination with mRNA technology that the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have driven is a case in point, and lots of exciting discussion is taking place around the applicability of those technologies to other diseases, such as HIV and tuberculosis.”
Discussion and research on prevention strategies will be far more prominent than they have been in the past, highlighting the need for policy-level strategies based on science. An example of this is a focus on nutrition and diet as preventative measures against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
The program also will focus on hepatitis, including research on a new drug for hepatitis D, promising work on a cure for hepatitis B and preemptive therapy for patients who undergo organ transplantation. Additionally, with “the unfortunate and mystifying cases of acute hepatitis in children in Europe” during the past few months, Hainsworth expects there to be significant discussion onsite.
“Aside from abstract-led sessions, there will be a host of other activities for young investigators, including the post-graduate course run on the first day, think tank sessions, networking sessions and ‘meet the expert’ events that are proving to be more popular each time they are held,” Thomas Berg, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Leipzig, head of the division of hepatology at Leipzig University Medical Center and secretary-general of EASL, said. “We have also made the entire program less dense and more interactive, allowing more time and opportunity for unstructured learning and networking.”
Attendees this year can also look forward to the addition of EASL Studio, a weekly live broadcast on key issues in hepatology presented by experts in the field across Europe. EASL Studio will broadcast from ILC with the hope of attracting a live audience and providing viewers early morning news on daily congress happenings, interviews and debates on hot topics, and congress highlights at the end of each day.
“I think too that ILC 2022 will be remembered as the edition that kick-started EASL’s determination to ensure that the ILC event leaves a lasting legacy on the communities, local cities and countries where it is held,” Berg said.