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Greetings from the editor 2024/2
  1. Josef S Smolen
  1. Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine 3, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Professor Josef S Smolen, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine 3, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; josef.smolen.ard{at}

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In my remarks offered to you at the beginning of this year, I addressed the many anniversaries that would be 2024 highlights.1 But I deliberately omitted one significant anniversary, preferring to wait to this moment to reflect that this year EULAR is organising the 25th EULAR Annual Congress. This is not only a reason to celebrate a quarter century of a scientific and educational event characterised by ever increasing numbers of attendees, but also a timely reminder that the very first annual meeting held in Nice in 2000 took place at a time when the first biological agents for an immune-mediated disease, in particular rheumatoid arthritis (RA), had just been approved in Europe. These medicines changed the course of this and thereafter many other chronic immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) in a dramatic way.2 3 Thus, the history of the EULAR congresses parallels the history of the therapeutic revolution that has transformed rheumatology; it parallels the new era for patients and rheumatologists alike that we have been privileged to witness. In a remarkably short period of time, standard-of-care of bed-ridden patients in overcrowded wards has been replaced by opportunities to control disease activity, to prevent relentless (and hopeless) deterioration of structure, physical function and quality of life and to convert management of so many patients with IMIDs to daycare and ambulatory care. These advances were not only based on novel remedies, but also on developing better assessment instruments and therapeutic strategies, as exemplified in the latest update of the EULAR RA management recommendations.4 5 Excellent long-term outcomes are now remarkable for many, such that we can even consider remote care, at least for some time.6

This year the Congress returns to Vienna almost 20 years after it had been organised in this city for the first time in 2005. All European venues have a long rheumatological tradition, but of course, they also have a long history of fascinating evolution in social, economic and political cultures. Indeed, if you wish to further appreciate Vienna’s history, you might be interested in a recently published book that addresses the city’s many faces and contributions to the scientific evolution in the early 20th century, the century of so many significant research and cultural advances, but also a century of atrocities and resurrections.7 This is reminiscent of what was emphasised in previous ‘Greetings’, namely that peace is the most important basis for societal advances, whether these be cultural, humanitarian or scientific.

As always, the EULAR Congress will be accompanied by ARD’s supplemental issue which provides the abstracts accepted by the Scientific Committee. But when you read these ‘Greetings’, you will already have seen the regular ARD June issue published at the time of the Congress. It has become customary that ARD provides some of the most recent EULAR recommendation papers in the congress-issues, and so it is this time covering a broad range of topics of direct relevance to clinical practice comprising updates of the EULAR recommendations for the management of psoriatic arthritis8 9; for imaging in vasculitis10; for non-pharmacological management of hip and knee osteoarthritis11; as well as new recommendations for imaging in crystal diseases12 and non-pharmacological management of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic sclerosis.13

You may remember that in my January Greetings I highlighted several anniversaries to commemorate in 2024,1 among them the publication of the seminal paper on the treatment of RA with glucocorticoids 75 years ago. For this work, Philip Hench received the Nobel Prize 1 year later.14 Contemporaneous to the Vienna Congress, Mayo Clinic’s eminent scientists, Eric Matteson and Gene Hunder (who knew Hench personally) have written a wonderful piece in reminiscence of this only rheumatological Nobel laureate for our ‘Heroes and Pillars’ section, with many photographs from the Mayo Clinic’s archive.15

While glucocorticoids constitute a major life-saving remedy for 75 years, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has threatened many lives of otherwise healthy individuals as well as those of our patients.16 The COVID-19 pandemic threat is now diminished largely as a result of modern molecular medicine capabilities, a striking parallel with our own rheumatological revolution. The extremely rapid availability of effective vaccines arising from remarkable mRNA technology allowed fast adaptations to the needs in the course of the pandemic. As a new technology for developing vaccines, it seems timely to review the assets and risks of mRNA vaccines with a particular emphasis on their use in autoimmune conditions, and this review is also presented in the June issue.17

Other articles address the benefits and risks of using CAR-T-cell technology in autoimmunity,18 novel findings related to myositis19 and new information on a rare autoinflammatory disease.20 Papers on important and probably under-recognised aspects of hand osteoarthritis21 and on a novel imaging technique22 complement the original research reports in this issue. All these papers advance our understanding of, and/or clinical approaches to managing rheumatic diseases. This is exactly what ARD wishes to provide to its readership namely advances in management, novel pathogenetic insights and other new information that fosters the developments in our field. Needless to say all this would not be possible without the help of the many authors, the highly supportive reviewers, the distinguished editorial board and the journal’s staff with so many individuals working behind the scene to provide our readers with pivotal insights, advancing knowledge and care.

This brings me to an end of these mid-year Greetings. I wish all of us a wonderful, successful, enlightening Annual European Congress—and always, pleasure when reading ARD!

With lots of gratitude to all of ARD’s supporters, Josef Smolen.

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As always, I am grateful to Prof Iain McInnes and Christiane Notarmarco for their thoughtful review and suggestions for this paper.



  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.