One hundred and seventy people — a huge turnout — attended the annual meeting of the International Pemphigus Foundation (IPF), hosted by NYUCD from September 15–17, and cosponsored by The Pemphigus & Pemphigoid Society.
Classified as rare disorders by the FDA, pemphigus and pemphigoid cause the body to produce an autoimmune response to a specific portion of desmoglein 3, a protein found in normal healthy skin and oral mucosa. Indeed, the most common initial presentation is multiple, chronic oral ulcers, and the dental professional can often speed the
correct diagnosis. The conditions result in painful blisters, erosions and ulcerations on the skin or in the mouth, which, if left untreated, can lead to
disfigurement and even death. Patients are treated with immune suppressive agents with significant risks for medical complications.
“The IPF is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization whose mission is to increase awareness of, and research into, pemphigus/pemphigoid among both the general public and the biomedical community,” explained Dr. David A. Sirois, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and President of the Board of Directors of the IPF. The Foundation also provides emotional support to patients living with these
diseases as well as to their families and friends, and advocates research into causes, diagnoses, treatments and cure.
“The 2006 annual meeting was unprecedented in its focus on contemporary disease management and on the needs of patients, family members and caregivers,” said Dr. Sirois. “It is critical for all of us to understand these diseases and how we can make and get the best information and treatment available.”
Built around the theme of “Unity, Growth and Progress,” the weekend included a Patient/Doctor Meeting featuring education for pemphigus/pemphigoid patients and a gala dinner at New York’s Water Club with awards presented to patients,
scientists and clinicians for their outstanding
volunteer service in bringing greater awareness to the
public and medical community about these rare autoimmune diseases. For more information, please visit the IPF Web site, at www.pemphigus.org/