Large Bone Defect Healing, 4th annual meeting held in Davos on October 2, 2009

Another successful meeting of this Collaborative Research Program was hosted by AO at the Foundations' Davos headquarters in Switzerland.

15 October 2009


The 4th Annual Meeting of the Collaborative Research Program (CRP): Large Bone Defect Healing (LBDH) was hosted this year in the AO Foundation headquarters in Davos. Researchers and clinicians from around the world gathered together on October 2, 2009, for updates and discussion on this LBDH Program.

The night before

For those who arrived early on Thursday afternoon there was an introduction by Geoff Richards, Director of AO Research and Development (AO Research Institute Davos/ARI) followed by a guided visit by staff around the AO Research Institute Davos facilities, which very much impressed those present. This was followed by an Apero and informal dinner at the Hotel Alpenhof, Davos.

Early morning schedule—project updates

James Kellam opened the meeting, welcoming the approximately 30 participants to the meeting, thanking AO Research Institute Davos for making this event happen and inviting speakers to share their achievements with everyone in attendance. Participants included AO Exploratory Research Board Members (AOERB) Norbert Südkamp, Michael Schütz and Steven Buchman, as under the new research structure the AOERB is responsible for this program. Each presenter was allocated 10minutes to bring those present up to speed on the progress made in their project since last year’s meeting, with a further 5 minutes slated for discussion of their project. 

Sophie Verrier, an AO Research Institute Davos researcher, spoke first on endothelialized grafts and dynamisation. She was followed by George Duda from the Julius Wolff Institute at Charité Berlin, who discussed the stimulation of the angiogenic potential of the haematoma.

Matthias Laschke from Saarland University, Homburg, Germany, demonstrated the results of the evaluation of the biocompatibility and vascularisation of implanted scaffolds for bone reconstruction.

Chris Evans from Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, in a presentation entitled “Gene-activated autologous tissue grafts” looked at expediting bone healing using a gene transfer approach. 

Finally in the “Achievements” section of the morning session, Karen Burg from Clemson University, South Carolina, gave a very animated presentation on how her group is aiming to provide a scaffold platform technology to support osteogenesis in large bone defects. They are working closely with Synthes and she spoke about the benefits and challenges of this collaborative approach.

Needless to say with the high caliber of presentations made, the morning session ran over by more than an hour; each of the speakers spent at least three times the allotted time in discussion with colleagues which made for a very informative and productive session.

Late morning schedule–In Situ approaches

After a shortened coffee break, Sandra Steiner, Manager AO Exploratory Research explained the new AOERB consortium funding approach and how AO Research Institute Davos staff will be involved in future work. 

After this the projects from the next LBDH funding round were presented. In line with the AOERB consortium funding approach, projects were consolidated into consortia: one focusing on in situ solutions–the other on in vitro approaches. The “In Situ” portion of this session was then kicked off by Chris Evans giving more information on the Harvard Medical School research into gene activated autologous tissue grafts in sheep. George Duda then elaborated on“Combining chronOs strip with Intra-operative selected peripheral blood derived precursor cells.” Next, a newcomer to the program, William Murphy from the University of Wisconsin Madison told the group about “Optimization of non-viral gene delivery using calcium phosphate-based vectors.” He was followed by David Eglin, an AO Research Institute Davos researcher, who spoke about “thermo-sensitive hyaluronan hydrogel for drug and cell delivery.” Even though discussion time had not been scheduled after these presentations participants commentedand elaborated on what they had just heard giving rise to some thought provoking interactions and the many discussion points were further explored over the lunch break that followed. 

Afternoon schedule–In Vitro approaches

Sophie Verrier took to the podium again and elaborated on endothelialized grafts while Matthias Laschke spoke about bone tissue engineering and Karen Burg gave further insights in the large bone defect scaffold program. New consortia member Harvey Goldberg presented on “Delivery of bone sialoprotien within scaffolds to enhance bone repair” followed by Kenneth Nelson who delivered a presentation on “Biomembrance formation in the rat femur segmental defect model.” Last but not least Mauro Alini from AO Research Institute Davos closedthe presentations with “Biological approach for treating large bone defect.” 

General remarks

Some presenters remarked that in light of post presentation discussions that had taken place, it gave them many ideas for ways to tweak their research. It was also clear that many were noting ways to combine technologies, seeing potential ways to gain economies of scale by exploiting research overlaps with other members of the CRP.


The overall conclusion was that this meeting was a great success and achieved precisely what it set out to do ie, generate discussion and the AOERB board members got a very good feeling for what they are embarking on in the coming months.

All of the participants are looking forward to these projects starting and seeing each other again in a year at the 5th LBDH meeting.

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