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Letter from the Editor

Prof. Dennis McGonagle, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
EULAR 2021
Dear colleagues,

The ACR Convergence 2021 was originally scheduled to take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, but decided to go 100% virtual because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Given the time of year, the famous city and the Southern Californian climate, it would be hard to generate virtual memories that could come anywhere near the experience of once boots on the ground in San Francisco.

That being said, the ACR in its own words attempted to deliver “groundbreaking science, innovative formats, live programming, networking, and flexible scheduling” and succeeded in doing so. With over 14,000 rheumatology professionals from >110 countries registering to hear over 300 speakers and over 2,000 abstracts, there was something for everyone.

Herein, we have briefly highlighted novel and interesting research across the breadth of the Rheumatic Diseases. Naturally, we have highlighted abstracts pertaining to COVID-19 from the rheumatology perspective and, reassuringly, the positive data that Rheumatology patients were mostly faring well during the pandemic continues to be the case nearly a year after the generation of the original data that was presented at the ACR in November 2021. One of our core activities involves the use of immunosuppression of B- and T-cell activity in the battle to restore immune homeostasis and unsurprisingly this can sometimes manifest as worse COVID-19 disease or inferior vaccination responses, and selected abstracts deal with this topic.

Moving from San Francisco to a famous New York Yankee quote, we also had a Rheumatological “déjà vu all over again” moment with evidence that very low dose rituximab, analogous to very low dose methotrexate, made the successful jump from cancer to rheumatoid arthritis. Lets hope that by the end of 2022 we can simply say that it is “all over” and we can return to meeting our colleagues face-to-face at the ACR.

Kind regards,

Prof. Dennis McGonagle


Dennis McGonagle, FRCPI, PhD, is an Academic Rheumatologist at the University of Leeds and section head of Experimental Rheumatology. He graduated in Medicine from the University College Dublin in 1990 and undertook postgraduate training in Dublin and Leeds where he completed his PhD. He has developed the modern enthesitis model for spondyloarthropathies and psoriatic arthritis including the cytokine-mediated enthesis originating theory of disease (Lancet 1998). He also described the synovioentheseal complex, nail anchorage to the skeleton, developed an integrated biomechanical and immunology model for PsA, and a mechanistic disease classification of immune diseases (PLoS Med 2006). His group also discovered synovial fluid mesenchymal stem cells, which is being researched towards osteoarthritis therapy development. Prof. McGonagle has also served on the EULAR scientific committee and is a member of the Editorial Board of ARD.

Conflict of Interest Statement:  Prof. McGonagle has undertaken research and/or educational programme activities with Pfizer, MSD, AbbVie, BMS, UCB, Novartis, Celgene, and J&J.


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