At the 2010 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting in Atlanta, the ACR and ARHP honored a group of distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions to rheumatology research, education, and patient care. The Rheumatologist spoke with the winners about their individual contributions to advancing rheumatology. This month, we’ll meet the ACR award winners, and in a future issue, we’ll meet the ARHP winners.
Explore this issueDecember 2010
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Presidential Gold Medal
William P. Arend, MD
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine
Background: A graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, Dr. Arend completed his residency and a fellowship at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has been a professor of medicine and immunology at Colorado for 27 years, receiving the distinguished professor title in 2009. Dr. Arend is known for his groundbreaking discovery of the interleukin (IL)-1 receptor antagonist protein (IL-1Ra). The recombinant form of IL-1Ra (anakinra/Kineret) is nearly identical to the natural human protein was approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It has also produced impressive benefits in the treatment of autoinflammatory syndromes and has been used in gout. A former ACR board member, Dr. Arend was editor of Arthritis & Rheumatism from 1995 to 2000. He has volunteered for numerous ACR committees and training programs, and was elected a Master of the ACR in 2002. He currently is engaged in collaborative research on the complement system. After 40 years of patient care, he stopped seeing patients six months ago.
Q: What part of research really drives you?
A: What has driven me through my career is a sense of curiosity; curiosity about human biology; curiosity to unravel normal biology; and, in the process, to understand how normal mechanisms are altered to lead to states of disease. … I feel very fortunate that I am one of but a few medical investigators who’s seen his research move all the way from the test tube … to the development of a new form of therapy and the marketing of that therapy over the past 10 years. I’ve seen the full spectrum, from basic cell abnormalities all the way through a new therapeutic agent.
Q: What does this award mean to you?
A: This award really has been a very satisfying thing to receive. I have worked for the ACR in a variety of roles and positions. I’ve also been very involved in education. In addition to research and patient care, education has been a major source of my career. To be recognized by my peers in rheumatology is very meaningful. I’ve tried to forward the interest not only of basic research, but of education. I appreciate the ACR’s efforts to bring together research, education, and new clinical knowledge. To be recognized for my activities in all of these areas is deeply rewarding.