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Letter from the Editor

Prof. Dennis McGonagle, University of Leeds, UK
ACR 2020
Dear Reader,

The last time the Rheumatology world converged in Washington DC on the ACR Congress in 2016 was memorable with the buzz in the city on the weekend of the Presidential election vote. The ACR Convergence 2020 was also held in Washington DC and co-incidentally in a Presidential election year. The city was again buzzing from a political perspective with the election outcome hanging in the balance but the city was deserted with the expected conference being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ACR went fully virtual with much of the content recorded in advance to facilitate smooth operation. Whilst the US Presidential election outcome was unclear at that time, Dr Ellen Gravalesse, the new ACR President, did a tremendous job in pulling together an excellent virtual meeting.

Not having to walk large distances between talks with the assistance of the friendly “Ask me” attendants had certain advantages – especially for Europeans, who, from the comfort of their armchair, could quickly move from session to session in the afternoon and evenings. Herein, we present up-to-date content across the breadth of inflammatory and degenerative arthritis. Relevant COVID-19 research for rheumatology patients is included which is very reassuring, since most rheumatological therapies are generally not associated with increased mortality. Indeed, some drugs pioneered in rheumatology have even proven beneficial for severe COVID-19, which represents a glimmer of hope in this second wave of the pandemic whilst we wait for the combination of vaccines and herd immunity to take effect.

Admittedly, many of us outside the USA did not miss the jetlag. However, it is fair to say that the interaction between clinicians, AHCPs, scientists, industry, and advocacy groups generates new friends, new ideas, and new collaborations. Hopefully, the content that we have selected will help inform and shape clinical practice and prepare us for new therapeutic strategies, whilst we look forward to meeting face to face at future ACR meetings.


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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