Mastocytosis is a rare disease characterized by abnormal growth and accumulation of mast cells (MC) in one or more organ systems. Based on the rarity of the disease it seems reasonable to establish a Network of Centers and Experts in Europe, the ECNM.
In addition, Europe has a long-lasting and vivid tradition in mastocytosis and mast cell research. This tradition is highlighted by the large number of interested scientists and the many publications about mastocytosis arising from European groups. The first proposal to classify mastocytosis was also worked out by a European researcher (Lennert, Germany).
During the past ten years, European scientists and clinicians working in the field of mastocytosis have started to cooperate closely in their projects and to develop disease-related criteria. The cooperation was then extended to the US and other non-European countries and resulted in the formulation of new disease-criteria and an updated Consensus Classification of mastocytosis which was refined, discussed, and approved at the Year 2000 Conference on Mastocytosis in Vienna. The Classification was adopted by the WHO in 2001. In 2002, five European groups started the ECNM with the ultimate goal to improve recognition, diagnosis and therapy in mastocytosis and to províde the best available information about the disease to patients and doctors.