Exploratory Research’s “Large Bone Defect Healing”, 5th annual meeting held in Boston

The meeting was hosted on September 23–24, 2010 by program partner Chris Evans

22 October 2010


The 5th Annual Meeting of the Exploratory Research Collaborative Research Program (CRP): Large Bone Defect Healing (LBDH) was hosted this year at the laboratories of program partner Chris Evans at Harvard Medical School, Boston, US. Researchers and clinicians from around the world gathered together on September 23-24 2010, for updates and discussions on this LBDH Program.

Sandra Steiner opens the meeting

The first afternoon

Sandra Steiner, Head of  Exploratory Research, opened the meeting, welcoming the approximately 25 participants to the meeting, thanking Chris Evans for hosting this event and inviting speakers to discuss their achievements with the clinicians and scientists in attendance.

Participants included 


Participants included AO Exploratory Research Board Members (AOERB) Michael Schütz and Steven Buchman, as the AOERB is sponsor of this program and responsible for program monitoring and direction setting. Also present were two keynote speakers, Thomas Einhorn and Steve Goldstein—both well-known experts in the field of bone tissue engineering—and AO R+D committee chair, James Kellam.

Chris Evans presenting

The afternoon program was designed to provide Chris Evans with an opportunity to introduce his research site and local collabo-rators. This session included an introduction to the Harvard Medical School and Hospitals by Evans and to the Harvard Orthopaedic Trauma Division by Mark Vrahas, a keynote lecture on the enhancement of large bone defect healing by Tom Einhorn, an overview of AO Research Institute Davos research competencies by Geoff Richards and an overview of the Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies by Chris Evans followed by a guided tour of the research facilities. The evening ended with a welcome dinner at the Harvard Club

Dinner at the Harvard club

Morning schedule—keynote lecture and project updates

Mark Vrahas on the podium

The morning started with a keynote lecture on ‘Bone tissue engineering – have we made any progress?’ by Steve Goldstein. This was followed by project updates from the LBDH program partners on in vitro approaches. Each presenter was allocated 15 minutes to report on their progress and collaborative interactions with the other project partners. The presenters were asked to conclude their talks by posing questions to the clinical experts in the audience about the potential clinical application of their project deliverables. Another 15 minutes were slated after each presentation for discussion of the project and its clinical implications.

Sophie Verrier, an AO Research Institute Davos researcher, spoke first on endothelialized grafts for bone critical size defects treatment. She was followed by Matthias Laschke from Saarland University, Homburg, Germany who discussed the in vivo analysis of biocompatibility vascularization of different scaffold types for bone tissue engineering. Harvey Goldberg, University of Western Ontario, Ontario gave an update on the delivery of bone sialoprotein within scaffolds to enhance bone repair.

Listening to the afternoon lectures

Karen Burg from Clemson University, South Carolina, who is working closely with Synthes, showed her results on the development of a modular, robust large bone defect scaffold platform. William Murphy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison presented on developing controllable growth factor—releasing carries within scaffold platforms. He was followed by Helen Gruber from the Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte who spoke about biomembrane formation in the rat femur segmental defect model.

With the high caliber of research presentations and the stimulating and productive discussions driven by the clinicians and advisers, the morning session ran over by a half hour.

Afternoon schedule—project updates and brainstorming session

After a shortened lunch break, Chris Evans took to the podium again and elaborated on gene activated autologous tissue grafts in sheep while George Duda from the Julius Wolff Institute at Charité Berlin spoke about combining chronOs strip with intraoperative selected peripheral blood derived precursor cells. William Murphy gave further insight into optimization of non-viral gene delivery using calcium phosphate-based coatings. Last but not least David Eglin from AO Research Institute Davos closed the research presentations with thermo-sensitive hyaluronan hydrogel for drug and cell delivery.

Brainstorming about new topics

After the conclusion of this part of the program the participants were divided into four groups and were given the task of brainstorming about possible new topics within the LBDH program which may be relevant but have as yet not been addressed by the current research consortia. The groups presented their outcomes raising issues around early consideration of potential regulatory hurdles for market approval of novel devices and therapies, in addition to the importance of clinically relevant animal models.

General remarks

Several participants remarked that as a result of the presentations and discussions that had taken place, they realized that collaborations among the consortium partners were not yet as intense and as multilateral as they could be and that in order to better realize the synergies there was a need to intensify the collaborative aspects.


The overall conclusion was that this meeting was a great success, stimulating and achieved one of its primary goals, that of intensifying discussions between researchers and clinicians. The format of including keynote speakers—which was introduced this year—was felt to enrich the meeting by generating discussion and broadening viewpoints.

All of the participants are looking forward to seeing each other again in Davos from August 31 to September 3, 2011 at the next annual LBDH meeting. This meeting will take place as part of the Exploratory Research symposium Where Science meets Clinics 1.0.

LBDH Meeting attendees at the Harvard Club


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