Belgian rheumatology expert receives prestigious award


Professor of Medicine Dirk Elewaut (UGent) was the first Belgian to receive the world's most famous prize for rheumatology research, the German Carol Nachman Prize.

You might think that only the elderly suffer from arthritis, but in reality there are millions of people around the world, including young people, suffering from this chronic inflammatory disease. It can cause a whole range of other conditions, such as eye inflammation, psoriasis, Crohn's disease, tissue damage, and biomechanical stress. It is clear that it has a major effect on the quality of life of the patient and on society as a whole.

As well as being a professor of medicine, Dirk Elewaut is head of the rheumatology department at Ghent University Hospital and group leader at the VIB-UGent centre for inflammation research. For more than two decades, he and his multidisciplinary team have been among the world's leading international experts in preclinical and clinical research into the origin and development of arthritis. This year, they received the prestigious Carol Nachman Prize for linking bowel and joint inflammation.

Their ultimate goal is that, in the future, patients will no longer be required to undergo lifelong treatment for chronic arthritis, but rather intensive, time-limited treatment. The initial results among patients receiving biological medicinal products instead of anti-inflammatory drugs early in the disease process are already encouraging.