A Dedicated Student of BD Passes Away

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Prof. Tsuyoshi Sakane (b. May 29, 1942) died on October 28, 2000, after a brief course of heart problems.

Prof. Sakane finished medical school in Kyoto, Japan. Between 1976 -1979 he was a research fellow at NIH (Bethesda, USA). Between 1979 -1991 he worked in Department of Internal Medicine in Shimane Medical University. Since 1991 he has been the Chief Professor of The Departments of Immunology and Medicine, Institute of Medical Science and Division of Rheumatic Diseases, Collagen Disease and Allergic Diseases at St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki Japan.

Prof. Sakane contributed immensely to our current understanding of the aberrant immune mechanisms in RA, SLE and Behçet's disease. He and his collaborators published many seminal research articles on the B and T cell dysfunction in Behçet's disease. The neutrophil hyperractivity in the HLA B51 transgenic mice model was also described in his lab. Prof. Sakane was the Chairman of the Behçet's Disease Research Committee of Japan between 1990-1996.

Prof. Sakane had a very sharp wit and those who knew him on a more personal level were also privileged to share his explosive, yet delightful sense of humour.

He is survived by his wife, a daughter and two sons.

Convenors for the BD Study Groups

As was discussed during the Council meeting in Seoul last spring The Executive Committee of ISBD has recently asked the following individuals to be the convenors for a series of Study Groups. The study groups are expected at long term to coordinate the research programme into Behçet's Disease on an international basis.

S.H. Assaad-Khalil - Drug trials including collaborative trials;
A. Silman - Epidemiology;
H. Direskeneli - Basic research;
S. Ohno - Eye research;
D. Bang - Dermatology research;
A. Chamberlain - Outcome measures;
I. Kone-Paut - BD in the pediatric age;
S. Lee - Physician training




Department of Rheumatology,
Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty,
Istanbul University,
Cerrahpasa, Istanbul, 34303, Turkey

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Seven British Cyclists Visit Istanbul

By Vivien HAWKER (UK)*

On August 9th 2000, 7 men arrived at the Cerrahpasa Behçet's Disease Research Unit, Istanbul, having cycled 1850 kms, over 2 mountain ranges, through 5 countries and in just 12 days! Their symbolic destination-the place where Hulusi Behçet put his name to the disease. It was a miracle that these men made it! They weren't young and 10 months previously weren't fit but they were my family and friends and committed to doing something positive that would make a difference.

During the morning we exchanged gifts. We gave a photograph of the Circle of Life statue which stands in the entrance to the Hammersmith Hospital donated by my consultant, Prof Haskard and we received two photographs; one of Behçet on holiday in Nice, 1934 and the other of a handwritten prescription, which I have since presented to the Behçet's Syndrome Society at their AGM.

Prof. Hasan Yazici and his colleagues gave freely of their time and expertise and much information was shared both formally through presentations and informally during the tour of the unit and the evening celebrations.

There was a definite buzz of being where the action is. This is a center of excellence devoted to the research and treatment of Behçet's sufferers and because of the higher prevalence of the disease in Turkey, they have the resources (sufferers) to carry out research studies and drugs trials. It was interesting also to discuss the differences in the Health Services and in particular, the impact on the disease process, of a self-referral system, which promoted early diagnosis.

That evening we dined together at the Dedeman Hotel (courtesy of a Behçet's patient), which we all enjoyed very much and I was particularly appreciative of the opportunity to talk with specialist doctors and find out what advances are being made in the research for treatment and cure. I was also offered private consultations by several members of the team and gratefully accepted; the results of which may be of personal benefit to me.

The purpose of the marathon ride was to raise awareness and knowledge of Behçet's Disease and to raise money to commission the making of a professional teaching video targeted at student doctors and GP's on refresher courses.

These objectives have been achieved. As a result of the venture, Behçet's Disease has had radio, newspaper and TV coverage nationally and internationally, in 7 countries. We have had an audience of 4 million people. We will be handing over approximately £ 7500 to the Behçet's Syndrome Society with whom we will work to produce the video.

On behalf of Behçet's sufferers in this country I would like to take this opportunity to thank the physicians of the Cerrahpasa BD team for their generosity, time and participation in assisting us achieve such a worthwhile goal.

* Ms. Vivien Hawker suffers from BD