Professor Ronald van Vollenhoven about Lupus Science & Medicine

Professor Ronald van Vollenhoven is the Head of the Department of Medicine, Unit for Clinical Therapy Research, Inflammatory Diseases (ClinTRID) at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and one of the Editors-in-chief for Lupus Science & Medicine.


– Professor van Vollenhoven, we have heard you many times encouraging the rheumatologists to treat to target, both for rheumatoid arthritis and for systemic lupus erythematosus. Remission is the obvious target in RA. What is the target in SLE?

– In SLE it’s a bit more complicated because there really are several targets. Remission can be the primary target but we also have to achieve improvements in HQ-QOL, prevent flares, prevent lupus-related damage, and minimize glucocorticoid exposure.

– According to my opinion, the fact that we have concreter definitions for response to treatment in RA gives better opportunities for a common language among researchers and more comparable study results. I would like to hear your view on the prospect of such a future common language in SLE. Is it a realistic goal?

– SLE is more complex, heterogeneous and unpredictable than RA so it stands to reason that it has been harder to agree on a set of outcomes. But progress has been made, and we are increasingly seeing how large data sets are generated, through registries or trials, using established measures of lupus activity and damage.


– How could Lupus Science & Medicine contribute towards this goal? 

– Developing and refining assessment and outcome tools is very much a scientific process and every (small) step forward represents a lot of work on the part of clinical researchers. This work needs to be published and disseminated. Lupus Science and Medicine can help by providing a platform where good science can be published rapidly and, by being Open Access, be available immediately to the entire community of researchers and other stakeholders.


– What does Lupus Science & Medicine aspire to? Which gap does it fill among the already existing journals that cover rheumatology and SLE? 

– You might be surprised to know that every year there are literally thousands of scientific articles published dealing with SLE one way or another. The fact that they are scattered across many rheumatology and internal medicine journals may be a reason that researchers are not always aware of what has been going on elsewhere in this field. We felt that a platform specifically for SLE-related research was needed with the added feature that it is Open Access, so immediately available to all.


– Finally, how would you encourage researchers in the field of SLE to publish their work in Lupus Science & Medicine? 

– The entire Editorial team are doing everything we can to make Lupus Science & Medicine an attractive journal to publish in (as well as to read). We are working on making the review process as expeditious as possible while also having very good quality and a positive atmosphere around it, we are including features in the journal where high-quality reviews can be published along with the article, and we have already seen a very major interest in our publications with very many views, many downloads, and a lot of attention on the social media!

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