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Professors J Sieper and J Braun from Berlin have been honoured with the Carol-Nachman prize for rheumatology of the city of Wiesbaden. The Carol-Nachman prize is the most prestigious international award in rheumatology. They received the prize for their work on the role of T cell cytokines in the pathogenesis of arthritides and as a possible target of immunomodulating treatments. Sieper and Braun studied the different reactivity of T helper 1 (Th1) and Th2 lymphocytes in various forms of arthritides, including reactive arthritis, Lyme arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and osteoarthritis.
They found that the low Th1 response of the synovial membrane in patients with reactive arthritis and the high Th2 response in patients with Lyme arthritis is inadequate for an effective elimination of bacteria and a possible cause of bacterial persistence in these disorders. In addition, they described by flow cytometric analysis of synovial lymphocytes a high frequency of T cells specific for different bacterial antigens in the joint. In an open therapeutic study with monoclonal tumour necrosis factor blockers they showed that patients with active ankylosing spondylitis had a good anti-inflammatory response.
Professor Claude Bennett from Birmingham (USA) has been awarded the Carol-Nachman medal for his life's work and for his continuous support of young investigators in rheumatology.