TMA celebrated its 25th anniversary by recognizing three outstanding myositis researchers for their contributions to understanding these diseases and moving toward a cure.
Dr. Kanneboyina Nagaraju, a current TMA medical advisor, was recognized for his work in immunology and inflammatory muscle disease, and in particular, his discovery of a first-in-class dissociated glucocorticoid, Vamorolone, a drug that has far fewer severe side effects than traditional steroids such as prednisone. This drug is now in phase 2b clinical trials, and we look forward to FDA approval in the not-too-distant future.
Dr. Lisa Rider, a former TMA medical advisor and Deputy Chief of the Environmental Autoimmunity Group at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), was recognized for her extensive scholarly contributions to juvenile and adult myositis. Dr. Rider’s research focuses on understanding the genetic and environmental risk factors, pathogenesis, outcome assessment, and treatment of systemic autoimmune diseases. She has led or contributed to several national myositis registries, including the MYOVISION registry, for which TMA was instrumental in acquiring funding, and which has led to significant insights into myositis diseases.
Dr. Rider is a tireless promoter of research collaborations, having led international projects to establish response criteria for juvenile and adult myositis and contributed to the development of new myositis classification criteria. She continues to play a leading role in the International Myositis Assessment and Clinical Studies (IMACS) Group, a 350-member consortium of myositis clinical researchers working together to advance the science of myositis.
As a pediatric rheumatologist, Dr. Rider co-edited the book Myositis and You, a guide to Juvenile Myositis. And she has received many awards, including Physician Researcher of the Year awarded by the US Public Health Service.
Rheumatologist Dr. Ingrid Lundberg was recognized for her extensive contributions to the understanding and treatment of myositis diseases over the last 25 years. In 1993 at Karolinska University in Sweden, Dr. Lundberg started one of the first multidisciplinary research and clinical centers in the world to focus on myositis.
Aware of the importance of collaboration in understanding this rare disease, Dr. Lundberg has been a leader in establishing multidisciplinary networks in Sweden with SweMyoNet and internationally with the MyoNet network. She has also led the development of a web-based myositis register in Europe that now has more than 4,500 patients from 23 centers world-wide enrolled.
She served as the lead investigator of the large interdisciplinary, international collaborative team that developed the 2017 EULAR/ACR Classification Criteria for Adult and Juvenile Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies and their Major Subgroups.
And in 2014 she initiated the Global Conference on Myositis (GCOM) where about 100 myositis researchers from around the world and from every discipline gathered to share their research findings and their ideas about myositis diseases, treatments, and the quest for a cure. The second biannual GCOM took place near Washington, DC in 2017 with more than 300 participants, and the third conference in March 2019 in Berlin, Germany is expected to be even bigger.
TMA is grateful to these and so many other exceptional physicians and scientists for contributing to the understanding of myositis diseases, developing and testing new treatments, and for relentlessly seeking a cure for these devastating diseases.