Welcome Message

第62回日本リウマチ学会総会・学術集会、会長:齋藤 知行(横浜市立大学大学院医学研究科運動器病態学 教授)

The 62nd Annual General Assembly and Scientific Meeting of the JCR
President Tomoyuki Saito, M.D., Ph.D.

The 62nd Annual General Assembly and Scientific Meeting of the Japan College of Rheumatology will be held at Tokyo International Forum from April 26 to 28, 2018. It was held once previously at this forum in 1998 with enormous success. Since then, 20 years have passed and I am very honored and pleased to serve as president of this coming congress at the same prestigious venue again.

During the last two decades, there have been dramatic changes in the treatment of rheumatism, including the first clinical application of methotrexate in 1999 and a biological product for rheumatoid arthritis in 2003. In the areas of rheumatoid arthritis and various collagen diseases, new diagnostic and therapeutic methods, as well as a wide range of guidelines, have been launched, allowing diagnostic and therapeutic systems to be established and standardized in respective areas. As a result of changes to the criteria for classifying rheumatoid arthritis and changes in modes of drug therapies with newly introduced antirheumatics and biological products, we are now able to aim for remission as the realistic goal of rheumatism treatment.

On the other hand, even the latest achievements in molecular biology and immunology have not clarified the essential pathology of rheumatology, with no radical treatments available. In addition, rheumatologists face many problems, including issues concerning new therapies, side effects, escalating healthcare costs, and changes in patient demographics due to general population aging, which need to be tackled urgently. Efforts for comprehensive treatments are also proposed. While receiving information from Western countries, the Japan College of Rheumatology has many matters to address, including compiling evidence for Japanese patients and elucidating the differences between Japan and Western countries. There have also been dramatic changes in the medical environment over the last decade. In particular, advances in information technology have made it possible to collect a great deal of information in a short time, and in this era, we must decide how to sort out the flood of information to make appropriate choices.

The main objectives of our interdisciplinary meeting are to provide an opportunity for participants to think about rheumatic diseases in a comprehensive way, and to compile scientific data that is not available in other countries. I believe the Japan College of Rheumatology cannot be considered truly global unless it actively provides useful information to society at large, and builds closer relations with researchers and clinicians in the rest of the world, by making effective use of information technology.

Tokyo will become increasingly active in all aspects of livelihood in preparation towards the 2020 Olympic Games. In view of the great significance of this congress, I want to promote and publicize a broad range of findings worldwide. Additionally, I would like to encourage young, as well as more experienced scientists, to actively cooperate and participate in many sessions, and to make presentations that can be used effectively as a guiding tool for future advancements and knowledge in our field of expertise for the Japan College of Rheumatology and all of our member organizations.