This year BRITSpA was pleased to run its first abstract competition, with twelve submissions considered and four delegates asked to present. The winner of the certificate and cheque for £500 was Steven Zhao (Aintree) who gave an excellent presentation of his work: Autoantibodies to Osteoprotegerin in Axial Spondyloarthritis. Exploring whether prevalence of OPG-Ab in axSpA is higher than in a healthy population and whether they were associated with measures of bone health in axSpA, he concluded OPG-Ab may be biomarker for accelerated bone loss in axSpA and emphasised the need to explore this in a prospective study.

Andrew Keat presenting Abstract Competition winner Steven Zhao


UCL radiologist Margaret Hall-Craggs delivered an abstract on data on the natural history of sacroiliitis in young people with enthesitis-related arthritis on biologic therapy. Her data suggest that ERA patients undergo a reduction in inflammation but a substantial increase in fusion and fat metaplasia after biologic treatment, concluding that Biologic therapy has not prevented fusion in these patients, although it is unclear whether fusion is a consequence of the inflammation itself or biologic treatment.


Dr Margaret Hall-Craggs


Paul Bowness (Oxford) presented Hussein Al-Mossawi’s abstract: is GM-CSF a therapeutic target in spondyloarthritis? This asked whether GM-CSF an important cytokine in human ‘type 17′ driven diseases (AS) and concluded it may be a good therapeutic target in AS/SpA.


Prof Paul Bowness


Marie Therese McDonald’s abstract (Glasgow) ‘The association of physical activity and sedentary behaviour with disease measures in axial spondyloarthritis’ aimed to assess whether physical activity and sedentary behaviour of people with AxSpa are associated with disease measures.In this small sample, sedentary time was associated with poorer quality of life. Physical activity was not associated with disease activity, suggesting physical activity interventions are essential to all AxSpa patients, independent of their disease activity.

Marie Therese McDonald