Winter 2017 (Volume 27, Number 4)

News From the Scientific Committee

By Tom Appleton, MD, PhD, FRCPC

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Join us in Vancouver for the 2018 CRA Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM)!

Advances in discovery, technology, and clinical sciences continue to propel our understanding of rheumatic diseases, motivated by our quest for improved care with greater certainty. The theme of the CRA 2018 ASM – Precision and Personalized Medicine in Rheumatology – was chosen to showcase just how far we have come as a field.

The 2018 ASM Committee has designed a meeting with outstanding speakers, workshops, scientific exchange, and (of course) time to network! One of our new priorities includes weaving in themes from prior meetings and offering next-level content in niche areas, providing the opportunity for savvy conference-goers to selectively deepen their professional expertise. This year, watch for a next-level workshop on Indigenous Health Competency!

From the vantage point of The DOUGLAS hotel, the gorgeous sea-to-sky landscapes of Vancouver will draw you in. While here, you will enjoy the ever-popular Great Debate: Be it resolved that precision diagnostic tools (biomarkers, advanced immunology, and artificial intelligence) will reduce the need for rheumatologists in the future. The program will engage you in practical and philosophical workshops, Dr. Philip Baer’s RheumJeopardy!, quick-hitter updates from our national superstars, and interactive sessions including posters, Career Fair, and Meet-The-Expert. Last year’s “Year in Preview” in Ottawa channeled the predictive abilities of experts in basic and clinical science, pediatrics, and models of care with rave reviews and will be a highlight yet again. The ASM committee and I are very pleased to present the following renowned keynote speakers:

Professor Ranjeny Thomas is the Arthritis Queensland Chair in Rheumatology at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in Australia. Professor Thomas’ work is focused on studying the biology of human dendritic cells in autoimmune diseases and their clinical application for treatments. Professor Thomas is known for her contributions to the field of immune tolerance and risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis and type I diabetes. This has led to an antigen-specific vaccine to treat rheumatoid arthritis, which is currently in clinical trials, a therapeutic platform for antigen-specific immunotherapy, and a new diagnostic test and immunotherapy for type I diabetes. She is also the founder and director of a spin-off company (Dendright), managing the development of vaccines to suppress autoimmune diseases.

Professor Linda Li is the Harold Robinson/Arthritis Society Chair in Arthritic Diseases, and Canada Research Chair in Patient-Oriented Knowledge Translation at the Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia. She is also a Senior Scientist at Arthritis Research Canada. Dr. Li’s research focus includes understanding the help-seeking experiences of people with early inflammatory arthritis and evaluating models of arthritis care. A key interest of hers, which ties in well to our meeting theme of Precision & Personalized Medicine in Rheumatology, are her collaborative efforts with digital media experts to develop and evaluate electronic tools for shared decision-making between clinicians and patients. She has been recognized for her outstanding work in the arthritis field with the Michael Smith Foundation Health Research Career Investigator award, among many others.

Professor Marvin Fritzler is a prominent Canadian rheumatologist, recognized internationally for his contributions to the field of rheumatology by improving the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases. He was inducted as a Master of the American College of Rheumatology in 2013, ten years after being recognized by the CRA with the award for CRA Distinguished Investigator. Dr. Fritzler has served as Chair of the Alberta Research and Innovation Authority. He has published over 420 peer-reviewed manuscripts with more than eleven thousand citations. For his work in molecular diagnostics with autoantibodies, which underpin the precise diagnosis of several autoimmune conditions, Dr. Fritzler recently received the Carl R. Jolliff Award for Lifetime Achievement in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology from the American Association of Clinical Chemistry. It is a tremendous pleasure to welcome him back this year as the CRA’s prestigious 2018 Dunlop Dottridge Lecturer.

Save the date: February 21-24, 2018. I look forward to seeing you in Vancouver!

Tom Appleton, MD, PhD, FRCPC
ASM Program Chair,
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Rheumatology
The University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario

Dr. Ranjeny Thomas

Dr. Linda Li

Dr. Marvin Fritzler

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