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Toronto rheumatologists win prestigious international awards


Toronto, On – The Hospital for Sick Children’s Dr Ron Laxer and Dr Rae Yeung have won two of the most prestigious awards in rheumatology, rarely awarded to paediatricians and rarely to Canadians.

Dr Laxer, staff rheumatologist at the hospital and professor of paediatrics and medicine at the University of Toronto, received the Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award. The award is given to a rheumatologist who has made outstanding contributions in clinical medicine, clinical scholarship or education. He is only the second Canadian to win the award.

He has published widely in many areas of rheumatology, and has made a number of important clinical observations. His description of the Camptodactyly-arthropathypericarditis syndrome helped to ultimately identify the genetic mutation. He was the first to describe the association of psoriasis with chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis. The treatment protocol described by him and his group has become the standard for treating children with localized scleroderma.

Dr Yeung, staff rheumatologist, senior scientist in the Cell Biology Program and associate professor of paediatrics, immunology and medical science at the University of Toronto, received the Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award. The award is given to a young physician scientist, age 45 or under, who has made outstanding independent contributions to basic or clinical research in the field of rheumatology.

She is investigating the mechanisms governing autoimmunity, specifically the mechanisms involved in initiating and sustaining the immune response in childhood arthritis and rheumatic diseases. Her research has challenged existing paradigms in disease pathogenesis. Basic science findings have been translated into clinical correlates, which in turn are leading to new therapeutic interventions to improve the outcome in affected children. More information on her research is available at http://www.sickkids.ca/Research/yeunglab/index.html.

“These are remarkable achievements and remarkable examples of how outstanding our faculty members are,” says Dr Brian Feldman, head of the division of rheumatology.

Both awards were presented during the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting, held October 16 to 21 in Philadelphia.