AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) update

ARI scientists foster collaboration with Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology

29 October 2018

Recently, AO Research Institute Davos scientist's Dr Sibylle Grad, Prof Zhen Li, and Reihane Ziadlou visited the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The purposes of the visit were to present recent advances in cartilage and intervertebral disc research achieved at the Musculoskeletal Regeneration Program of the AO Research Institute Davos, and to discuss the progress of the running collaborative research project: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) compound delivery system for treatment of osteoarthritis. The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) under the Sino-Swiss Science and Technology Cooperation (SSSTC). 

AO Research Institute Davos scientists visiting SIAT Chinese Academy of Sciences
During a seminar held at SIAT, Grad gave a presentation about AO Research Institute Davos research entitled 'mechanically stimulated organ culture for evaluation of biological osteochondral repair methods'; and Li presented their work on cell-based annulus fibrosus repair. Thereby, the presentation of the organ specific bioreactors for articular cartilage and intervertebral disc research, developed within the AO Research Institute Davos labs, attracted great attention.

The aim of the joint project between Switzerland and China is to develop a TCM compound delivery system for the treatment of osteoarthritis. AO Research Institute Davos's principal investigators (PIs) on this project are Grad, Prof Martin Stoddart, and Prof Mauro Alini. Reihane Ziadlou, PhD candidate at the AO Research Institute Davos and the University of Basel, presented recent findings on the anabolic and anti-inflammatory effects of specific TCM molecules on human osteoarthritic chondrocytes. While Dr Xinluan Wang from SIAT outlined their progress on the benefits of TCM compounds for to bone regeneration. Appropriate biomaterial-based drug delivery systems for cartilage and bone are being developed for administration of the compounds to osteochondral defects. To get more insight in the advanced 3-D material printing techniques developed at SIAT, Ziadlou stayed at the Shenzhen laboratories as an exchange student for two more weeks. 

AO Research Institute Davos scientists visiting Prof Ling Qin at The Chinese Universityof Hong Kong
The AO Research Institute Davos team also visited Prof Ling Qin at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Ideas were discussed for continued collaboration of the AO Research Institute Davos with SIAT and the CUHK in the field of biologics and biomaterials application for bone and cartilage repair and regeneration. 

Prof Geoff Richards, AO Research Institute Davos's director, noted "It is great that these visits and collaborations happen with SIAT and CUHK, which are important institutes in the pearl river area. Prof Ling Qin was a fellow in AO Research Institute Davos in 1992 and has continued to be actively involved in research collaborations with all of us at AO Research Institute Davos ever since."

Dr Yuxiao Lai, Executive director, Center for Translational Medicine Research and Development, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, CAS, China, was recently awarded Honorary Visiting Scientist at the AO Research Institute Davos for a three-year period beginning July 1, 2018. The award (the second that AO Research Institute Davos has given) was in recognition of her collaboration with Dr David Eglin, Alini, and Richards through a European Chinese FP7 project on Rapid Prototyping of Custom-Made Bone-Forming Tissue Engineering RAPIDOS, FP7-NMP-2013-EU-China.

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