International Vasculitis and ANCA Workshop brings top researchers to UNC

More than 400 world-renowned clinicians and scientists converged at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center to share the latest best practices, trial results and research discoveries in the basic understanding, diagnosis and treatment of vasculitis at the 15th International Vasculitis and ANCA Workshop.

The event was hosted jointly by the UNC Kidney Center, UNC Nephropathology Laboratory, and UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center and their respective leaders, Ronald Falk, MD; J. Charles Jennette, MD; and Joanne M. Jordan, MD, MPH. The workshop was attended by participants from more than 30 countries in addition to the local scientific community. 

"This may seem to be an unusual venue for an international meeting that is usually held in a major city," said Jennette, "but Chapel Hill is very well known to the vasculitis research community because of many important contributions to the field by investigators at UNC.” 

Leading researcher Cees Kallenberg, who is from The Netherlands, kicked off the event with his keynote, “Where Are We in Understanding the Pathogenetic Role of ANCA in Small Vessel Vasculitis?” The event featured three days of plenary talks, proffered papers and poster sessions.

"We are honored to have brought together the top minds and latest innovations in vasculitis research to our campus community," said Falk. "By sharing best clinical research and practices, we are able to not only promote the scientific study of vasculitis, but to ultimately enhance future patient outcomes."

Drs. Jennette and Falk were leaders of a consensus conference in Chapel Hill nearly twenty years ago that developed the internationally adopted nomenclature for systematic vasculitides.  Last week’s workshop was preceded by another consensus conference that will update this standard nomenclature.

Vasculitis affects all organ systems and often is difficult to diagnose and treat. This complex group of diseases brings together a wide variety of medical disciplines that must coordinate care to provide the best medical outcomes for these patients, including specialists in nephrology, rheumatology, pulmonology, otolaryngology, pathology and other disciplines.

"The vasculitides involve multiple organ systems and call for inter-disciplinary research and patient care," said Jordan. "We at UNC Rheumatology were very happy to contribute to this important workshop."

The 16th International workshop will be in Paris, France in 2013.