Dear friends and colleagues,
Welcome to the 13th Annual Congress of Pan-Asian Committee for Treatment and Research in multiple Sclerosis (PACTRIMS). This year, the congress will be held virtually from 26 (Friday) to 28 (Sunday) 2021. We offer free registration to everyone who wish to participate in this congress.
Since the end of 2019, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe, and the pandemic has exerted a vast influence on every aspect of our life and paralyzed the social functions. Meetings and congresses are no exception and we had to make a difficult decision to cancel our congress in 2020.
In order to promote academic and international exchanges of delegates, we had hoped to meet in person this year, but vaccine supplies and inoculations are still insufficient in many parts of the world and the virulent Delta and other variants have raged in Asia and other regions. Under this tough situation, we had no other choice but to hold our congress in a fully virtual format.
The scientific committee lead by Professor Michael Barnett and Professor Fu-Dong Shi put up four themes, more or less mirroring the current social circumstances 1. How to manage MS and NMOSD in the Covid-19 pandemic, 2. Therapeutic advances in MS, NMOSD and MOGAD, 3. New aspects in the pathophysiology of MS and related disorders, and 4. Digital health in neuroimmunology. We have invited distinguished speakers for the symposia from within and outside the region. We hope you will find the scientific program and presentations informative and get actively involved in discussions.
As we mentioned before, we have challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, such as shortage of physicians with expertise in the diseases, fewer approved disease-modifying drugs of MS and NMOSD compared with Western countries, and how to increase awareness about the diseases. To address the issues, in addition to the annual congress, PACTRIMS started Pan-Asian Course for Training in MS and Neuroimmunology (PACTMAN) this year. It is a new webinar series (1.5 hour session each) to provide useful information for clinical practice by case-based presentations and lectures. Dr. Kevin Tan has lead this project and the sessions have been well received. We will continue to take advantage of digital technology to broaden the activity of PACTRIMS.
As in the past, European Charcot Foundation (ECF) kindly offered to hold a ECF Symposium and this year it will address epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatment of progressive MS. We appreciate ECF for their dedication to the educational activity and academic exchange. We thank pharmaceutical companies for their generous support to PACTRIMS 2021. Six pharma-sponsored symposia will provide latest information of clinical, pathophysiological and therapeutic aspects of MS and NMOSD. Their contributions are hugely significant for the success of our congress.
On behalf of PACTRIMS and Kays Connect, our managing partner, we wish you an enjoyable and productive congress.
Kazuo Fujihara, President
Ho Jin Kim, Vice-President
Allan Kermode, Treasurer
Michael Barnett, Chair, Scientific Committee