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Environmental Factor, July 2015

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NIEHS participates in first international myositis conference

By Robin Arnette

small group

Several conference attendees took a break between sessions. From left, Lundberg; Paul Plotz, M.D., National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS); Rider; Andrew Mammen, M.D., Ph.D., NIAMS; Pari Basharat, M.D., London, Ontario, Canada; Michael Feely, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center; and Eleni Tiniakou, M.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. (Photo courtesy of Kanneboyina Nagaraju, Children’s National Medical Center)

Researchers from around world gathered at the First International Conference on Myositis May 8-11 in Stockholm, Sweden. Scientists who study myositis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes muscle weakness, gathered to discuss the underlying causes and potential treatments for the disorder.           

Lisa Rider, M.D., deputy chief of the NIEHS Environmental Autoimmunity Group, was one of the 155 scientists and clinicians who attended the international assembly. As the first scientific conference dedicated entirely to myositis, the event drew participants from Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia.

Multidisciplinary event moves the field forward

"This conference was attended by many of the leading researchers in myositis, who for the first time, all sat together in the same room to learn about and discuss the latest scientific advances," Rider said. "Myositis patients are cared for by a multidisciplinary team, so having a way for myositis specialists to share what they’ve found definitely furthers the field."

Rider co-chaired a session on genes and the environment, and gave two separate oral presentations — one on the clinical and autoantibody phenotypes, or characteristics, of juvenile myositis, and a second on the development of new response criteria for adult and juvenile myositis.

Rider and her mentor, Frederick Miller, M.D., Ph.D., head of the NIEHS Environmental Autoimmunity Group, were both members of the scientific committee that organized the conference. Miller’s fellow committee members elected him as chair of the next International Conference on Myositis, to be held in the U.S. in 2017. Miller will take over for this year’s chair, Ingrid Lundberg, M.D., Ph.D., professor of rheumatology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

"I hope to build on the wonderful success of this meeting by inviting not only myositis experts, but also members of myositis patient advocacy groups, such as The Myositis Association and the Cure JM Foundation," Miller said. "Researchers and patients will both benefit from the open exchange of information."

Conference participants

Conference participants gathered for a group photo (Photo courtesy of Ingrid Lundberg)

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