Scientists and grateful patients packed into an auditorium on the NIH Bethesda, Maryland, auditorium on Monday afternoon heard about advances in science—and lupus—as part of the Improving Lives Through Discovery symposium marking the creation of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) by Congress in 1986.
Lupus was among the several areas of significant research progress highlighted in the limited time available, noted NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, and was selected in part because the science is poised for such major advancements.
Lupus Research Institute President and S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Executive Director Margaret Dowd sent greetings and congratulations to Dr. Katz and his entire staff on "this landmark occasion marking scientific accomplishments and advances across so many fields."
"We are of course particularly grateful for your personal leadership in helping to advance lupus research over the past decade," she indicated. "Our progress and work together continues to be most gratifying and truly outstanding for people with lupus."
At the symposium, Dr. Katz noted that the diseases and conditions that NIAMS works on affect nearly every household in the nation. He thanked all the stakeholder groups involved with the Institute for their support and participation in the research process over the years.
In welcoming remarks to the crowd, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis S. Collins noted that "While a lot of research progress has happened in the past 25 years, you ain't seen nothing yet!"
In addition to starting a "National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences" to accelerate research that bring benefits to patients more quickly, Dr. Collins noted that the NIH will soon increase to 60 the number of "Clinical Translational Science Award Centers" around the nation.
These and other efforts, he said, will take advantage of the scientific momentum that's begun.
Crucial to Success: the Research Participants
NIAMS Director of Musculoskeletal Diseases, Joan A. McGowan, PhD, movingly thanked clinical trial participants in the auditorium as well as the countless others across the nation who have taken part in research over the decades-and in so doing enabled invaluable breakthroughs and advances to occur.
Jane Salmon, MD, of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York outlined key advances in lupus research and understanding over the past 25 years.