“My patients are very pleased to be a part of the research,” he says. “The important thing is they don’t feel the research is for them, but rather for the disease and for others.”
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Explore This IssueDecember 2015
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Dr. Miossec came to the U.S. in 1983, as a research fellow of the late Morris Ziff, MD, PhD, at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Miossec was the first to identify IL-1 at the site of arthritis and its effect on lymphocyte migration, and his work on the regulation of IL-1 function by IL-1RA and by anti-IL-1 autoantibodies laid the foundation of IL-1 inhibition.
He earned his PhD in immunology from the University of Marseille in 1987, and later showed the anti-inflammatory properties of IL-4 and the consequences of its relative absence in RA joints. He was the first to identify the pro-inflammatory and destructive properties of IL-17, and the concept of its production by a new T cell subset, now referred to as Th17 cells. He then showed that combining IL-17 and TNF inhibition was more potent—the basis for numerous therapies targeting IL-17 and leading to approval of the first anti-IL-17 antibody in January 2015.
‘We are losing the human aspects of medicine. We spend too much time in front of a computer instead of with our patients.’ —Dr. Miossec
Q: What did you learn from Dr. Ziff?
A: ‘Do your best.’ He has been an inspiration for my whole career. For instance, working on manuscripts, I spent hours next to him, word by word. We made sure every word was correct, reviewing and improving the manuscript. His advice was ‘always fight with the editor,’ something I have tried with success a few times, but often not.
Q: What advice do you have for the next generation of rheumatology researchers?
A: I see a danger in losing the bridge between basic and clinical research. Today, you need to get ideas from a large number of fields in order to really move forward as a team.
Q: What does an award from your peers mean to you?
A: It is a great honor to get such international recognition for my arthritis work and my immunology work. I made my first oral presentation at the ARA (now ACR) in 1984, the year I became a member. This is a nice achievement after years of work and friendship.
Q: What single change would benefit the field?