eCM Conference 2012
27 June 2012
eCM Conference attendees.
eCM Conference Overview
Since the inaugural meeting in 1999 eCM meetings have been the place where scientists and clinicians meet to move clinical problems to the scientists and to initiate projects to translate the scientific solutions back to the clinics. Even during talks dedicated to basic science topics, the question of how the knowledge can be transferred to a clinical translation is asked. This year's conference was entirely dedicated to bone repair and regeneration.
Although bone has a remarkable propensity to repair, there are a number of situations where the repair process fails. This leads to many complications both social and economic. To meet these challenges, a complete understanding of bone biology, at the molecular, cellular and mechanical level is required. Furthermore the knowledge gained must be implemented into clinically relevant applications. As with every year, there was an emphasis on a large number of high quality keynote speakers. Each session was initiated by two keynote speakers who are renowned worldwide in their field. The aim is to detail the real world complications that clinicians face on a daily basis so that bench researchers know where to focus their efforts to achieve the most clinical benefit.
The conference was initiated by an excellent overview of osteoporosis and the state of the art in antiresorptive treatments by Dr. Jürg Gasser from Novartis. Osteoporosis is an increasing clinical problem in the area of fracture fixation and there are an increasing number of treatments which may help in this area.
Prof. Lynda Bonewald and Prof. Erik Fink Eriksen then gave a wonderful overview of the biology and interaction of the cell types which are critical in bone repair and maintenance. There were some truly beautiful images which provided an insight into the world in which these cells reside.
The potential to regulate cell behavior was described by Prof. Jenneke Klein-Nulend and computer models incorporating such data were explained by Prof. Patrick Prendergast. Together these keynotes have demonstrated the powerful response of developing tissue to mechanical stimuli and offered potential ways of using this knowledge to improve bone repair.
The role of angiogenesis and cell- cell signaling was eloquently described by Prof. Joelle Amédée. Listeners were left in no doubt as to the critical requirement for this intricate communication between cell types.
Due to the increasing research on polymers and their use for bone tissue engineering two whole sessions were dedicated to this topic. Within the Bone tissue engineering session Prof Ivan Martin described the challenges faced when trying to translate tissue engineering into a clinical setting. After describing the difficulties, he offered potential strategies that may overcome some of the barriers that are in place.
After gaining a valuable insight into the regulation of osteoblastogenesis and its role in bone regeneration from Prof. Kurt Hankenson, the conference was closed with a clinical session to highlight the everyday challenges faced by the orthopedic community.
Prof. Frankie Leung provided a comprehensive overview of the options currently available which detailing what is still required. Prof. Paul Heini then explained the complex nature and pitfalls of spinal fusion techniques. This was followed by examples of how more advance technologies such as computer aided design and stem cell therapy could be utilized to produce patient specific implants that can improve facial symmetry. Finally Prof. John Fairclough offered a thought provoking insight into the nature of bone edema.As with all eCM Conferences the discussion was lively and informative.
The Future of eCM Conferences
Of note this year was the decision of Geoff Richards, Mauro Alini and Charlie Archer to step down as the Executive Organizing Committee and hand the role to the next generation of AO Research Institute Davos scientists. Future conferences will be organized by David Eglin, Sybille Grad, Fintan Moriarty and Sophie Verrier under the co-ordination of Martin Stoddart. We wish them well for the future and look forward to welcoming you all again for next year's eCM conference on Stem cells.
eCM Conference Executive Committee
Prof. R. Geoff Richards – Editor-in-Chief eCM Journal.Director AO R&D., AO Research Institute, Davos, CH and member Connective Tissue Biology Laboratories, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Wales, GB.
Prof. Mauro Alini – Scientific Editor eCM Journal. Head of Musculoskeletal Regeneration, AO Research Institute, Davos, CH.
Prof. Charlie W. Archer – Scientific Editor eCM Journal.Head of Connective Tissue Biology Laboratories, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Wales, GB.
Local Conference Organizers
Dr. Martin Stoddart – Scientific Editor eCM Journal.Principle Investigator Musculoskeletal Regeneration, AO Research Institute, Davos, CH.
Dr. Sophie Verrier – International Editorial Board eCM Journal.Principal Investigator Musculoskeletal Regeneration, AO Research Institute, Davos, CH.