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Interview with the Congress Presidents

Interview with CS Lau, ACA 2013 Congress President



1.   Tell us about your background, your current position and how it connects to the field of ‘Novel Diagnostic Tools & New Therapeutic Avenues in Autoimmune Disease’.

I am a Professor of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology of the University of Hong Kong. My primary clinical and research interests are in autoimmune rheumatic disorders, particularly lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.  In the last decade there has been a lot of progress in the understanding of these autoimmune conditions leading to improved diagnostic accuracy and therapeutic advancement.  These have been translated into much improved patient outcome.  It is important that clinicians and scientists continue to meet to exchange ideas in this field.  

2. What are some of the highlights of the ACA 2013 scientific program? Tell us about the plenary speakers and sessions. Are there any special meetings?

We have a comprehensive program that addresses the pathogenesis, diagnostics and novel therapeutics of major autoimmune diseases, including not only rheumatic disorders but also thrombosis, atherosclerosis and neurological disorders, etc.

We are delighted to have been able to invite world renowned speakers in the area of autoimmunity to share their experience and knowledge with delegates at ACA 2013. Our plenary speakers include Trevor Marshall from Australia, Tianzhi Gang and Quianjian Lu from China, David Kaltzmann from France, Carlo Perricone from Italy, Yehuda Shoenfeld from Israel, Takao Koike, Eiji Matsuura and Kazuhiko Yamamoto from Japan, Swan Sim Yeap from Malaysia and Eric Gershwin from the USA.

The program will emphasize the multigenic nature of autoimmunity, focusing on the role of genes and the environment including infections and epigenetics in the pathophysiology of major autoimmune diseases. There will also be highlights on the interplay between innate and adaptive immunity in the induction of the autoimmune phenomenon. The program will cover the latest advances in diagnostics including various auto-antibody assays and biomarker measurement in diseases such as lupus. The latest development in biologic treatment for autoimmune diseases and other treatment targets are also major foci of ACA 2013. Of course, there will be parallel free paper sessions for clinicians and scientists to present their latest investigation findings. 

Here is a list of some lecture titles from the program of ACA 2013:

Basic science

  • ASIA syndrome: Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants
  • The pebbles of autoimmunity: genetics and autoantibodies in the complex mosaic of autoimmunity
  • A new function of p53 as a regulation of autoimmunity
  • Expecting the unexpected: the role of LIF and TNFa in the equilibrium of Treg and Th17 in autoimmune disease
  • Regulatory B cells in autoimmune arthritis
  • Spondyloarthritis and the role of Microbiota: lessons from SKG mice


  • Neonatal autoimmunity and autoinflammatory syndromes
  • Immunodeficicency and autoimmunity
  • Is the proteasome a valuable target for treating autoimmune diseases?
  • Biosimilars for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Approaches for immune-therapeutics in atherosclerosis
  • Advances in the treatment of multiple sclerosis

3. Can you express the importance of the ACA 2013 congress?  How is ACA 2013 unique?

Asia is the largest and most populous continent hosting ~60% of the world’s population with diverse ethnic, cultural and economic differences.   As a result, variations exist in the spectrum, clinical manifestations, disease course, treatment response and outcome of autoimmune diseases.  It provides a great opportunity for researchers to study the epidemiology, pathogenesis, particularly the influence of environmental changes on disease development and presentation, and pharmacologic therapies for many of these conditions. 

ACA 2013 is the 6th Autoimmunity Congress Asia which is held biennially.  Since its inception, ACA has become the premier educational platform for exchanging ideas and information about autoimmune diseases for scientists from Asia and other parts of the world. 

4. What is the significance in holding the congress in Hong Kong? How do the congress topics relate to / impact on the region?

ACA has grown steadily and significantly over the years both in the number of participants and abstracts and the scope of the scientific programs.  It is indeed an honor for Hong Kong that ACA has selected our vibrant city to host the 6th ACA.  Located in the south coast of China, Hong Kong is one of the two special administrative regions of China, and a gateway to the rest of the country.  It is one of the world’s leading financial centers, and is proud of the high quality and efficient healthcare system that it provides to its citizens.  Medical research has a long history in Hong Kong, particularly, there is a rich pool of clinical and research expertise in the field of autoimmune diseases.  Besides the above, Hong Kong is one of the most unique cities in the world where East meets West, a meeting which is reflected in its inhabitants, their customs, economic infrastructure, education and culture.  On one street corner, there may be traditional Chinese shops selling Chinese herbal medicine or Buddhist paraphernalia, but around the next, one may find theatres showing the latest Hollywood blockbuster, an English-style pub, or a Catholic Church.

The 6th ACA promises to be a great meeting for clinicians and scientists involved in the management of people with autoimmune diseases, and an excellent opportunity for them to visit this fascinating city.  Join us in November.