Conference on Care of Pituitary Tumors in Cushing’s Set for Oct.8

Marisa Wexler MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler MS |

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At an upcoming conference offered by the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), experts will share the latest approaches and techniques for diagnosing and treating Cushing’s disease and other conditions caused by tumors in the pituitary gland.

The “4th Pituitary Update” conference will run from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 8. The event will be entirely virtual, although attendees will have substantial opportunities to interact with expert faculty.

Attendance is free for patients, family members, advocates, and the general public. Penn faculty, residents, fellows, and staff also can attend for free; healthcare and industry professionals from outside the university must pay a fee to attend. Additional details about the conference, as well as registration, can be found here.

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Cushing’s disease is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland, a small structure in the brain that is important for regulating hormone levels in the body. In Cushing’s, a tumor prompts the pituitary gland to release excessively high levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).

High levels of ACTH, in turn, prompt the adrenal glands — sitting atop the kidneys — to produce and release high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels are ultimately responsible for most Cushing’s disease symptoms.

At the Oct. 8 conference, experts will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of the tumors that cause Cushing’s disease, as well as other conditions like acromegaly, in which the presence of a pituitary gland tumor triggers the production and release of high amounts of another hormone, called growth hormone.

Different perspectives on the biology and care of these tumors will be discussed, including key considerations during imaging tests, as well as surgery and radiation treatment approaches.

During the conference, there will be a real-time broadcast (simulcast) of a transsphenoidal surgery — the most common type of surgery to remove pituitary tumors. Discussions in real time will focus on the case and the surgery’s progress, as well as information on follow-up care.

The event will also include patient break-out sessions starting at 10:45 a.m. ET. One session will focus on providing participants with key resources to manage and cope with a chronic illness, while another will be geared toward helping patients navigate insurance coverage. Marie Conley, founder of The Conley Cushing’s Disease Fund, will give a talk dedicated to Cushing’s support groups.

A major goal is that attendees leave the conference with up-to-date, practical information and written resources for how best to care for people with pituitary tumors.

The conference is primarily aimed at doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, though it is open to anyone who wants to better understand how pituitary tumors are diagnosed and treated.