MESSAGE FROM PROFESSOR FRANK WOLLHEIM HONORARY PRESIDENT
Dear World Congress Attendants,
Many thanks for the honor and the opportunity to participate in the opening of your congress. It is admirable that the organizers again have been able to gather such a large audience of dedicated people. Thoughts are wandering back some 25 years when the launch of EUSTAR was met with considerable skepticism just as the start of a new journal for scleroderma in 2016 (United we Win). But both succeeded thanks to enthusiasm by Marco Matucci Cerinic and people around him.
Thoughts are wandering back to giants and pillars like Jerry Rodnan who delivered an inspired presentation as a penicillamine symposium 50 years ago where I also had a talk (on rheumatoid arthritis) and Carwile LeRoy and his groundbreaking basic research. Progress in recent years is indeed encouraging, but many unsolved problems remain to be resolved by the scleroderma community.
In October 2018 I attended a Workshop in New York on Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia wit 270 leading investigators from around the world. I was impressed by striking advances in understanding and targeted therapies emerging against this malignancy, but also by the parallel meeting arranged by macroglobulinemia patiens which attracted 300 participants. My mentor dr. Waldenström always advised us to let patients lead the way to relevant research. Therefore, I was happy to notice that this meeting realizes the importance to include patients.
My own experiences with scleroderma have been a mix of hopes and disappointments. As an innocent bystander entering the 90ties and deviating into journalism and authorship, I hope that your experiences will contain more of fulfilled hopes.
Good luck with your important endeavor,
Prof Frank Wollehim