Mission and goals

Welcome to the WASOG Website

The WASOG stands for World Association for Sarcoidosis and Other Granulomatous Disorders. The topics WASOG is focusing on are interstitial lung diseases (ILD). Many ild (e.g. sarcoidosis) are part of a larger systemic problem, where the lung may be a minor target; others (e.g. idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)) are nearly exclusively a lung problem from the beginning. Thus, the future lies as a branch midway between pneumology and internal medicine, but it is clear that currently the WASOG has its own experts, journal, society and patients.

Sarcoidosis can affect any system of the body, although it is most commonly found in the lungs.  It is an inflammatory disease resulting in small patches of red and swollen tissue called granulomas.  These can be present in any organ, and although lung, skin and eyes are the most frequently affected, it is found in the heart, liver, spleen, brain, parotid gland and other organs as well.  In about two-thirds of patients the disease will resolve, but approximately one-third will go on to develop an overwhelming number of granulomas resulting in a chronic, progressive pattern of disease.  Sarcoidosis falls under the umbrella of interstitial lung diseases (ILD) and is a relatively rare disorder.  It most often occurs between 20 to 50 years of age, with women representing a slightly higher number of cases. It is the aim of this website to propel and promote the understanding and treatment of this often puzzling disorder.  Through information, education, and state-of-the-art research, our goal is to refine and optimize the care of patients and the knowledge of physicians.

Treatment
Corticosteroids have long been the standard treatment of sarcoidosis, but it often carries serious side effects.  Methotrexate (MTX) works in some cases and we now have some exciting research in the role of TNF-a inhibitors in refractory patients. The quality of life is often poor for sarcoidosis patients.  Depression, debilitating fatigue, cognitive failure and sever dyspnea are often present.  Let us make sure we have the ability to develop appropriate treatment for the patients in our care.

Mission Statement
Our aim is to find a cure for sarcoidosis and other ILD and to improve the quality of life for patients. This can only be done through research and collaboration with our world-wide medical colleagues, pharmaceutical companies, and biotech companies.

Sarcoidosis requires a multidisciplinary approach to research, education and treatment as it is a disease with many different manifestations. It is our goal to inform and educate both patient and physician of the latest diagnostic tools, research, and treatment options. Each patient is unique and requires treatment tailored to his or her specific symptoms.

Education
Quality of life is a major concern of all patients and their families.  To this end, we advocate an aggressive program of education for both patients and primary care physicians.  How do we promote education?  There is a need for patient registries like in America and France.  We encourage patients to participate in clinical trials, donate tissue, and join registries. We foster the sharing of research data by organizing conferences and courses to update sarcoidologists on the latest findings. We also encourage to exchange data bases. We cooperate closely with patient organizations and hold meetings for patients and their families. We are closely allied with other lung organizations: The American College of Chest Physicians, ild care foundation, Sarcoidosis Network, etc. Printed materials and videos are available to patients on this website.

Research
This is undoubtedly the most fertile time in the history of this organization for innovative and exciting research into the etiology and treatment of sarcoidosis as well as other ILD.  Research in inflammatory parameters, developing a tissue bank, identifying genetic factors, investigating the role of pathogens in the susceptible host, developing new treatments, are all currently underway. Each patient is unique and requires treatment tailored to his or her specific symptoms.  Personalized Medicine is also an important topic in ILD including sarcoidosis. We need much more research, and for that we need support.  Research is time-consuming and expensive, but it is the goose that lays the golden egg.  Funding for research is the most crucial issue facing the ILD and sarcoidosis community.  The assessment of disease activity is fraught with difficulties, complicated by environmental, genetic, ethnic, and familial issues.  It is these which modify and determine the expression of the disease and about which too little is known. Regarding sarcoidosis we need a better means of differentiating between chronic and remitting disease.  We need to develop alternative therapies. This takes commitment – we have that from our excellent group of sarcoidologists working world-wide.  It takes patient involvement – we have that from our wonderful patients who teach us and spur us on.  The lack of adequate funding stands between us, the caring physician and the diligent patient, slowing the progress of finding a cure of this most elusive disorder.