NIH News Advisory
National Institute of Arthritis and
Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Tuesday, May 13, 1997

Elia Ben-Ari
(301) 496-8190

Mark Your Calendars: Science Writers Briefing on Arthritis
Friday, May 30, 1997 -- 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Natcher Conference Center, Room C
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

Editors, Reporters and Producers
Elia Ben-Ari, NIAMS Office of Scientific and Health Communications
Science Writers Briefing on Arthritis and Arthritis Research Conference

Arthritis and related rheumatic diseases have a major impact on both the individual and society, causing significant pain, impaired function, and disability, as well as costing billions of dollars in lost work and healthcare expenses. Researchers are studying a host of different aspects of these diseases, and are making strides in finding ways to reduce the impact of disease, understanding the underlying causes, and developing novel treatment approaches.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is sponsoring a Science Writers Briefing on Arthritis on Friday, May 30, 1997, in conjunction with the first biennial Arthritis Research Conference being held at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, from May 29 through June 1, 1997. The briefing will provide insights into the impact of these diseases and highlight some of the exciting areas in arthritis research. Presentations will focus on the individual and societal impact of arthritis and ways to reduce these, including patient and researcher perspectives; the genetics of arthritis and rheumatic diseases; and promising new therapies (see attached agenda).

The Arthritis Research Conference is co-sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, the American College of Rheumatology, the NIAMS, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Many leading investigators in arthritis and related areas, such as autoimmune disease, as well as a number of noted basic researchers will give talks, chair workshops, and interact with arthritis research trainees from around the country. Some of the topics to be covered include the genetics of autoimmune disease, autoimmunity, clinical interventions and outcomes, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Basic science sessions will include presentations on gene regulation and molecular immunology. All scientific sessions of the conference are open to members of the media, and a number of the speakers will be available for interviews during the conference.

For more information, call Elia Ben-Ari in the NIAMS Office of Scientific and Health Communications at 301/496-8190 or send e-mail to

Agenda: Science Writers Briefing on Arthritis

Friday, May 30, 1997
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Natcher Conference Center, Room C
45 Center Drive
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Md.

Welcome and Opening Remarks -- Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Director, NIAMS;
and John J. McGowan, Ph.D., Deputy Director, NIAID

Introduction by Co-Moderator -- Doyt Conn, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, Arthritis Foundation

I. Impact of Arthritis and What Can Be Done to Reduce It

A. Arthritis: What We Know Today -- Debra Lappin, Esq., Arthritis Foundation

B. Can Arthritis-Related Work Disability be Prevented? -- Saralynn Allaire, Sc.D., Boston University

C. Opportunities for Reducing the Individual and Societal Impact of Arthritis -- Matthew Liang, M.D., M.P.H., Brigham and Women's Hospital

II. The Genetic Basis of Rheumatic Diseases
A. Overview of the Genetics of Complex Diseases; Animal Models in Autoimmune Disease Research -- Edward Wakeland, Ph.D., University of Florida College of Medicine

B. Genetics of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases -- Peter Gregersen, M.D., North Shore University Hospital

III. Promising Arthritis Therapies and New Opportunities -- Peter Lipsky, M.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Closing Remarks by Co-Moderator -- William Koopman, M.D., President, American College of Rheumatology (University of Alabama at Birmingham)

Question and Answer Period