The WASOG stands for World Association for Sarcoidosis and Other Granulomatous Disorders. This organization was founded in 1987 by Dr. Geraint James in Milan, Italy, during the World Congress for Sarcoidosis. However, meetings around the world regarding sarcoidosis had been organized by Dr. Geraint James since the 1960s. From the beginning, it was recognized that sarcoidosis came in many forms and affected people in different ways. However, there have been two common features that define the disease: the granuloma and the multi-organ nature of the disease. WASOG is a unique organization. It is not tied down by geographical considerations, such as the European Respiratory Society, Japanese Thoracic Society, or the American Thoracic Society.
Interstitial Lung Diseases
The topics WASOG is focusing on are interstitial lung diseases (ILD) including sarcoidosis. These disorders are mainly part of a larger systemic problem. Thus, in the management of these disorders a multidisciplinary approach is mandatory. WASOG is not limited to just pulmonary physicians, but includes cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, infectious disease specialists, hepatologists, geneticists, and hematologists. WASOG has its own experts, journal, society and patients. There is a merger of clinical interest and basic science.
Through information, education, and state-of-the-art research, our goal is to refine and optimize the care of patients, stimulate the development of appropriate treatment and the knowledge of physicians. To this end, we advocate an aggressive program of education for both patients and physicians. How do we promote education? There is a need for patient registries. 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 dedicated physicians on the latest findings. We also encourage to exchange data bases.
WASOG has members from all over the world. WASOG cooperates closely with patient organizations and hold meetings for patients and their families. Moreover, WASOG is closely allied with other organizations: The American College of Chest Physicians, Americas Association of Sarcoidosis and Other Granulomatous Disorders (AASOG), Japanese Association of Sarcoidosis and Other Granulomatous Disorders (JASOG), ild care foundation, Sarcoidosis Network, Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR), etc.
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. There have been major advances in sarcoidosis since WASOG was founded. These include genetic, environmental, and therapeutic studies. 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. 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.
Each patient is unique and requires treatment tailored to his or her specific symptoms. Personalized Medicine is an important topic in ILD including sarcoidosis. 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.
Here 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 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.