New network for muscles, tendons, bones and joints

[PRESS INVITATION, 28 May 2015] A rapidly increasing proportion of patients in the Swedish health services have problems relating to the joints, tendons, muscles or skeleton of the musculoskeletal system. With a greater focus on orthopaedic research, new solutions can quickly reach the patients, which is why several of the world's leading researchers are now forming a new international network. Their first conference will be held at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

Journalists are welcome to attend the conference and interview the participants.

Conference: 1st International Symposium of Musculoskeletal Regeneration Research Network (MRN)
Time: 1–2 June 2015
Place: Auditorium 4U Solen, Level 4 Alfred Nobels Allé 8, Campus Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet

The subject matter ranges from fractures, muscle tears, ruptured ligaments and tendons to pains in the   shoulders, hips, knees and back. It also covers osteoporosis and brittle bone disease, which appear to be occurring at an increasingly early age. In many cases, these problems can be linked to reduced physical activity, lifestyle or monotonous workloads, and they often lead to sick leave, individual suffering and great costs to society.

“As surgeons and orthopaedic specialists working with patients, we feel that we could do so much more for them using what we refer to as regenerative or reparative medicine. That would allow us to improve healing or replace lost tissue with new tissue. But there is currently a   gap between research in the laboratory and the clinic, almost as if there was an invisible wall between the research and the patients,” says Christer Rolf, Adjunct Professor at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology at Karolinska Institutet and one of the initiators of the new network.

He feels that resources to regenerative medicine defined from preclinical research, stem cells or animal studies extensively outpaceresources  invested in applied research regarding the most common diseases and functional disabilities that affect the joints, tendons, muscles and bones, i.e. musculoskeletal diseases and injuries. By pooling resources and stimulate more interaction, by connecting preclinical and clinical researchers and working internationally, the whole field of orthopaedic research will become more competitive. Working together, the researchers can obtain new research funding in a win-win situation and to more directbenefit of the patients.

The new network includes clinicians and researchers from many different parts of the world, and as they now come together for this first conference, they are hoping to leave with plans for collaboration on concrete research projects. The researchers will then meet in different places around the world every six months. The association can also lean on a previously established collaboration in an MOU between Karolinska Institutet and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, China. That collaboration is centred on education,student exchange anda  collaborative research projects on joint and ligament injuries.

The conference covers everything from preclinical to clinical research and strategic planning. Karolinska Institutet Vice-Chancellor Anders Hamsten will open the conference. There will also be an opportunity to meet professor Kai-Ming Chan from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who has been a major driving force in the development of orthopaedic research in China.

Cecilia Götherström and Jorge Ruas, both researchers at Karolinska Institutet, represent the preclinical research field and will respectively talk about the possibility of boosting brittle bones before birth and about finding new drugs for muscle diseases. Rocky Tuan, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is extraordinarily good at speaking comprehensibly about stem cells and how they can be used to replace lost tissue. Stuart Goodman, Stanford University, is an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in hip prostheses and does research on inflammatory processes related to bone and skeletal injuries. Utrecht in the Netherlands is considered a frontrunner in the process of integrating research and healthcare. Professor Daniel Saris will attend the conference as one of three representatives of Utrecht University.

For the full programme, click here.  

If you have any questions, please contact:
Professor Christer Rolf
Tel: +46 (0)76-860 12 82

Press Officer Sabina Bossi
Tel: +46 (0)8-524 860 66 or +46 (0)70-614 60 66

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. Its vision is to significantly contribute to the improvement of human health. Karolinska Institutet accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country´s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet selects the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.