Highly successful 5th CRC Exchange Meeting

Bi-annual Davos/Homburg Collaborative Research Centre Exchange Meeting held in Davos in February 2010.

24 March 2010

On Friday the 19th of February 2010, the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) was pleased to host the bi-annual Davos/Homburg CRC Exchange Meeting in Davos. The first seed of the Davos/Homburg CRC collaboration was planted in 2006 and since then interactions between Davos and Homburg groups have continued to strengthen, with one to two main meetings a year along with researcher exchanges between the institutes. During the recent meeting in Davos, the Julius Wolff Institute/Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery (Charité, Berlin) also participated.

T Pohlemann demonstrating his skills
W Metzger talking about spheroids
Attentive audience at the AO Research Institute Davos workshop 'playground'
Participants testing their surgical skills

All participants (around 40) were welcomed to Davos by the AO Research Institute Davos director, Geoff Richards, who especially acknowledged the commitment of the Homburg visitors and Tim Pohlemann (Director of the Trauma Department, University clinic Homburg) in making the long drive from Homburg. Dr Sandra Steiner from the AO Exploratory Research Board, who funds several of the collaborative projects, also welcomed the guests in the name the AO Foundation.

Tim Pohlemann gave an overview of the Davos/Homburg CRC concept, reviewing the organization of the collaboration and finished by presentation several joint high level publications (with the AO Foundation listed as an affiliation on the front page) saying that this bore witness to the efficiency of our joint collaborative work.

In the first scientific talk J Holstein presented promising results showing a correlation between high bone concentration of homocysteine and poor bone quality. In an in vivo study in mice, K Marciniak investigated the effect of Sildenafil intake on fracture healing, while M Klein investigated the mechanisms involved in EPO stimulated bone healing. Another interesting talk was given by D Toben (Berlin) who showed the importance of immunology in fracture healing by comparing lymphocyte deficient- with macrophages deficient mice.

The next session was focused on angiointegration and tissue engineering where different approaches were reported. W Metzger and A Bächle described their spheroide co-culture model and the influence of their size on angiogenesis. Following the same aim of promoting angiogenesis for fracture healing, M Laschke proposed new strategies to accelerate the inosculation of pre-vascularised tissue constructs.

Moving to the repair of articular cartilage, H Madry and P Orth spoke about the use of gene therapy for cartilage treatment alone or in combination with growth factors treatment, while S Grad analyzed the surface of tissue engineered cartilage exposed to sliding motion stimulation at Micro- and Nanometer scale. The effect of mechanoregulation on stem cell differentiation was subsequently presented by M Stoddard.

On the biomaterials side, the influence of surface features on implant osseointegration was presented by J Hayes in both in vitro cell-surfaces interaction analysis and in vivo implant removal studies. C Aktas talked about nanostructured surfaces and the influence of gravity versus non gravity on those nano-structures. Following this theme of new materials, D Eglin presented his newly developed thermoresponsive hydrogels, while L Fliri gave an overview of injectable materials (e.g. PMMA) in applied augmentation techniques.

This meeting was also a good opportunity for A Tami to tell us what we always wanted to know about CT-analysis by answering all the FAQ he has ever received. It also was a good occasion for students to present their work (for the first time in public for some of them), and for all of us to challenge our surgical skills on R Matthys’ playground set-up.

Social program

The final part of the 5th CRC meeting in Davos was as positive as the rest of the day. The stormy weather, making the planned night skiing impossible, obliged the collaborators to spend more time around the fondue table leading to even more fruitful discussions.

In conclusion, this was a very successful meeting with high level scientific content. Tim Pohlemann said that “This was the best meeting I have attended in the past 12 months, with very good new ideas”. While in his closing words, Geoff Richards underlined the very good quality of the discussion and the excellent interaction between the participants giving rise to new ideas for common projects.

Dr Sophie Verrier
AO Research Institute Davos

The participants of the Davos/Homburg CRC meeting

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