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08 June 2015

WCD 2015 Vancouver - The meeting of the Sociétés Francophones de Dermatologie (French Dermatology Societies) puts the French language in the spotlight

A special event took place on the very first day of the World Congress of Dermatology. The 3 French-speaking dermatology societies, the Société Française de la Dermatologie (French Dermatology Society, SFD), the Association des Dermatologues Francophones (French-speaking Dermatologists Society, ADF) and the Association des Dermatologistes du Québec (Quebec Dermatologists Association, ADQ) met for the first time on Monday, June 8. It was a symbolic meeting in a country such as Canada which is so strongly committed to the defence of the French language! Florence Corgibet, Rémi Maghia and Jean-François Sei, our 3 dermatologists reporting from the event, are pleased to share with you the highlights from that first day when the bright Canadian sunshine added to the warm and friendly atmosphere.  

World congress of dermatology - Vancouver 2015

The history of French-language dermatology by Dr Florence Corgibet

This convivial and interesting session allowed every organising institution to assess their own contribution to the international dermatological scientific production. A more exhaustive report will be published in the FFFCEDV's journal, DermatoMag. We can disclose herewith selected excerpts.
Bernard Cribier, the 13th editor-in-chief of the Annals of Dermatology, the SFD's official body, brilliantly retraced the history of this journal, on the eve of its 150th anniversary, which was founded in Uriage on 20 November 1868 by a private practitioner, Adrien Doyon, at the end of the Second Empire and 3 days before colour photography was invented. This was the first time the term dermatology was used, as the very first journal devoted to the speciality, published in Italy in 1866, focused exclusively on venereal and skin diseases. The 1st article of the 1st issue was entitled: "Contribution to the study of Gonorrhoeal Rheumatism", was 513 pages long and essentially focused on venereology, while also presenting cases of elephantiasis nostras, ringworm and pregnancy-specific dermatosis. From the beginning, it featured summaries from other journals and the FMC (Formation Médicale Continue or Continuing Medical Education). The editor was Victor Masson, a name which Elsevier thankfully retained years later. The SFD was founded in 1889; it published its own newsletter, which only merged with the Annals in 1977. The online editorial process appeared in 2008, facilitating publication, while the flash code appeared in 2014 for surgical dermatology. An article in English is soon to be published every second issue, accessible online free of charge with a translation into French on the SFD's website. 

The history of the Association des Dermatologues Francophones (French-speaking Dermatologists Society, ADF) by Dr Rémi Maghia

Jean-Luc Schmutz reported on the ADF's history, i.e. the excellent idea of uniting French-speaking dermatologists beyond national borders. Without going back to its initiation in 1921, it should be pointed out that the ADF's by-laws were published in the Official Journal of 1923 and remained unchanged until 1999. The first convention was organised in Paris in 1922, attended by 179 participants (64 from Paris, 36 from elsewhere in France and 79 from abroad). The initial conventions were held in France, after which an export phase began. The logo, commissioned by Pr. Achten, was created by a painter, Akos Szabo, and featured the statue of Venus (beauty!) and the terrestrial globe, representing the global reach. 2 premonitory elements? The by-laws were revised in 1994, prompted by Pr. Belaisch and Pr. Revuz, allowing non-French dermatologists to be members of the Board. The convention is generally organised every 2 years and is characterised by a spirit of great conviviality. Other actions include the scientific session during the JDP, intern scholarships and, in 2014, the black skin day organised as part of the JDP. The next convention, the 30th, to which we are all invited, will be organised in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, from 20 to 23 April 2016!

St Paul's Bay disease by Dr Florence Corgibet 

Christian Drouin, from the ADQ, presents the St. Paul's Bay disease, the most important in Canada's medical history. It still remains a mystery 250 years later, only affecting the French Canadian rural population (nearly 30%), highly contagious and long considered a "form of syphilis, end of story!" . It was described as having 3 clinical phases: mouth and skin ulcers, bone pain followed by exostoses and destruction of the nasal cartilage, therefore mutilating and painful. It was not sexually transmitted but was facilitated by promiscuity and poor hygiene. Mild mercury chloride treatment resulted in catastrophes and exposed the physicians' inadequacy. Subsequently, a university degree became compulsory, but only for non-British nationals. This is therefore either endemic treponematosis, of the Sibbens of Scotland type and brought by Scottish soldiers during the war or, according to the speaker's own research, facilitated by the former coureurs des bois (French trappers) in contact with indigenous populations, and therefore similar to Bejel, as attested by the skeletal anomalies found in burial mounds in Illinois country. 

Scientific francophonie, from Seoul to Vancouver by Dr Rémi Maghia

Marie-Aleth Richard, chair of the SFD, spoke about the organisation of the SFD's scientific activity, featured in its by-laws. Its purpose is to promote academic research (€440,000) and research in the private sector (€100,000). 2 annual calls for tender, €40,000 maximum per project. The scientific council consists of 19 members; it analyses grant applications, develops an evaluation grid, based on the originality, feasibility, methodology and relevance of the project. The first 2015 call for tender resulted in the funding of 14 projects, totalling €216,000. The objective is to promote research training as part of a Master's type programme, doctorate or post-doctorate or an assignment abroad. Annual subsidies in the form of scholarships amount to €235,000. There are 27 SFD thematic groups. There are 112 members on average per group (from 25 for the recommendations group, ARED, to 482 for the Laser group). The groups are extremely dynamic in terms of meetings, exchanges, guidelines, actions and production. Research publications feature in the Annals, in the form of original articles in French, and are discussed at conventions (JDP - Journées Dermatologiques de Paris or Paris Dermatologists Day, JDIP - Journées de Dermatologie Interventionnelle de Paris or Paris Dermatology Intervention Days, Quatre Saisons de la Dermatologie or Four seasons of dermatology). The SFD also contributes to promoting evidence-based medicine: consensus conferences, PHRC, recommendations and the future Evidence centre, further to an agreement signed with CEDEF (Dermatology Teachers' College), the FFCEDV (federation for the continuing education of private practice dermatologists) and the HAS (Haute Autorité de Santé or National Health Authority).

2 examples of French educational and scientific excellence by Dr Jean-François Sei

Marie Beylot-Barry brilliantly presented the major French language publications of the past 3 years. We will focus herewith on 2 of those: 

  • The occurrence of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma in kidney transplant recipients can put life at risk and therefore requires adaptation of the immunosuppressive therapy. The results of a multi-centre study coordinated by Sylvie Euvrard were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and relate to 120 kidney transplant patients who suffered from CSCC: these patients are randomised after the surgical excision and will either remain on their usual immunosuppressive treatment or switch to Sirolimus (anti-mTor) as the sole preventive graft rejection treatment. 

The results favour the Sirolimus group, with:
- fewer new cases of CSCC (22% vs 39%)
- delayed onset of potential new cases of CSCC (15 months vs 7 months)
While the transplant is not rejected, adverse effects are more frequent in the Sirolimus group, which raises the issue, for each individual case, of whether, in practice, this switch is pertinent depending on the CSCC severity

  • The use of propanolol to treat infantile hemangiomas, as discovered by Christine Labreze after a period of observation, is an example of serendipitous medical discovery. No controlled trial was conducted: a multi-centre randomised trial involving 460 patients aged 1 to 5 months suffering from infantile hemangioma was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015. The children were randomised into 5 groups (Placebo, 1 mg/kg and 3 mg/kg for 3 months, and 1 mg/kg and 3 mg/kg for 6 months). Clinical improvement is observed as early as the 5th week in 88% of the placebo patients, and the dose of 3 mg/kg/day for 6 months turned out to be the most effective, with a 60% success rate versus 4% with the placebo. The expected adverse effects of propanolol (hypoglycaemia, bradycardia, low blood pressure and bronchospasm) are rare and very similar to those observed in the placebo group. 10% of patients experienced an evolution in their hemangioma after they stopped the treatment, particularly in the most severe forms of hemangioma.