ARI Symposium in Davos

Strengthened collaboration with Rush University Medical Center Chicago

01 September 2017

A symposium on Osteoarthritis of the knee and hip joint was held at the AO Center Davos, Switzerland on July 28, 2017. The symposium was organized by the Musculoskeletal Regeneration Program of the AO Research Institute (ARI) in collaboration with Prof Markus Wimmer from the Department of Orthopaedics of the Rush University Medical Center​ in Chicago, US. 

Prof Mauro Alini, Head of the Musculoskeletal Regeneration Program, and Wimmer welcomed the audience by explaining the origins of their collaboration. In fact, the cooperation between Alini and Wimmer started in 1999 at the AO Research Institute Davos with the development of a novel pin-on-ball bioreactor system for cartilage tissue engineering and related research. Since then these cartilage bioreactors have been further developed both in Davos and in Chicago, and have resulted in numerous publications about mechanical effects on cartilage repair and chondrogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells. 

During the morning sessions of the symposium, scientists from Wimmer's team presented their projects related to knee/hip replacement and to recent bioreactor studies. Jade He introduced a "smart" pressure insole for gait retraining, Jacqueline Simon presented functional analysis of contact forces in total knee replacement, and Spencer Fullam showed patient-derived multi-activity inputs for wear testing. Then Wimmer presented his bioreactor for testing of mechanical and biological responses of articular cartilage, Catherine Yuh showed cartilage stiffness changes following cartilage-on-cartilage articulation, and Simona Radice introduced her work on combining wear and cell culture.

In the afternoon, AO Research Institute Davos researchers demonstrated their projects related to cartilage repair and osteoarthritis. Prof Martin Stoddart summarized his in-depth studies, using the cartilage bioreactor, on the physical regulation of mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. Patrick Lezuo presented a finite element modeling method for scaffolds under multiaxial load; Graziana Monaco explained how to better mimic the in-vivo environment in cartilage research; Letizia Vainieri introduced a new bioreactor-loaded osteochondral defect model, and Reihane Ziadlou presented a Traditional Chinese Medicine approach for biological treatment of osteoarthritis. 

All presentations attracted high attention and were followed by lively constructive discussions on how to increase the interactions between the two institutions. In conclusion, this symposium clearly demonstrated the common interests and complementary expertise of the research teams from AO Research Institute Davos and Rush University. This research visit strengthened the long-lasting cooperation and opened the door for new collaborative projects.

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