Canadian Arthritis Network to host 2009 Annual Scientific Conference in Vancouver

People with arthritis and leading Canadian and international researchers will share the stage under the theme "Decoding Arthritis - A Joint Effort" when the Canadian Arthritis Network (CAN) hosts its 2009 Annual Scientific Conference beginning tonight, in Vancouver, BC.

"The CAN conference is unusual in the scientific world because people living with arthritis play such a significant role," says Dr. Monique Gignac, Co-Scientific Director of the Canadian Arthritis Network. "Their personal stories inspire researchers to work harder to find the cure and their insights offer valuable areas of exploration."

In addition to setting a precedent in the research community by integrating so thoroughly with people who live with arthritis, the Canadian Arthritis Network also supports smaller Canadian arthritis research networks to help them achieve more.

This year's conference showcases the successes and progress of nearly a dozen groups that are seeking a better life for people suffering from arthritis.

For example, with CAN funding the Canadian Alliance of Paediatric Rheumatology Investigators (CAPRI) recently spearheaded an international meeting with their counterparts from the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. Because of the limited number of patients with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) (in Canada, one in 1,000 babies, toddlers and children below age 16 suffer from JIA), CAPRI is trying to organize a collaborative international research consortium that can fully investigate and develop predictors and patterns of disease which transcend national and ethnic groups.

According to Dr. Claire Bombardier, Co-Scientific Director of the Canadian Arthritis Network, "Around 3 million Canadians suffer from osteoarthritis, leaving 1.5 million suffering from more severe and rare types of the disease. The work conducted by these small networks is essential. CAN is pleased to support them and the conference provides a forum to share all that they have accomplished."

Other topics featured at the conference include: Genetic discoveries that will change the way we manage inflammatory autoimmune diseases; Pain research - where are we now?; and, Cartilage repair: translation into clinical practice. A special networking session, using a speed dating model, will put conference delegates up close and personal with representatives from a variety of arthritis groups, project leaders and industry. This session is expected to generate new (research) partnerships.

The scientific program begins tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., (November 20) in the Regency A/B/C Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 655 Burrard St., Vancouver.

Selected presenters from the conference will also be speaking on the theme "Unravelling the Mysteries and Myths of Arthritis" at a free public event being held tonight (November 19), from 7-9 p.m. in the Grouse Room. This event is co-hosted by CAN and The Arthritis Society and media are encouraged to attend.

CAN would like to gratefully acknowledge the following sponsors for their support: Abbott, Roche and sanofi aventis.

Attention broadcast media: a Canadian Arthritis Network DVD that contains b-roll and testimonials is available for broadcast use. Please inquire if interested.

Source: CANADIAN ARTHRITIS NETWORK

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