“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations” Charles R. Swindoll
We live in fast-paced times, and it feels longer than a few months since my last update. Certainly, there is much happening and much to look forward to in our community. In particular, the ASBMR and ECTS annual conferences are both coming up soon, and while the global pandemic prevents us from being able to meet in person, I’m sure they will both be very successful and stimulating virtual events. The IFMRS is running a session at both events, focused on the MSK Knowledge Portal. Our session at the ASBMR Annual Meeting is on Sunday 13 September at 12:45 EST - please join if you can. The JSBMR, ANZBMS and ANZORS are all holding their annual conferences in October, as well.
As a genuinely international federation comprising all aspects of musculoskeletal research, it is important for us to be actively working with a broad range of organisations across the full musculoskeletal spectrum, and across all parts of the world. I am therefore delighted to announce that as of yesterday, the IFMRS has a new member society: the Korean Society for Bone and Mineral Research (KSBMR). I’m sure you will all join me in warmly welcoming them to our Federation.
Having a wider and genuinely representative range of voices around our virtual table makes us a stronger organisation, and allows us to be more than the sum of our parts. Working in partnership with key players on the international stage also allows us to focus on genuinely strategic goals, and amplify our impact. This month’s guest blog, from Rob Blank, reflects and elaborates on this theme, highlighting how we are in fact faced with a real window of opportunity in amidst the great challenge and uncertainty of these times.
We are also continuing our discussions around our new Strategic Plan, which we are planning to finalise for our next IFMRS Board meeting on 17 September. While it is probably more difficult to plan ahead for the next 3 years than it ever has been in the past few decades, there is much that is still within our control, and there are some things already stand out clearly. Chief of these is the role of digital, not just in terms of how we communicate with each other but how people are increasingly accessing, consuming and sharing information. If we can successfully harness the opportunities this presents, and be sufficiently creative whilst being sufficiently focused, there is much that we can achieve. HubLE and the MSK Knowledge Portal already provide good examples of how we can do this, and platforms on which we can build further.
Being strategic means being clear about our purpose, and focused on impact. In practice, this means working “smarter”, using limited resources effectively and coordinating activities across our members and partners as much as possible. One area where we probably need to work “smarter”, and where digital solutions can play a key role, is our Future Global Leaders workstream. As digital online communications progress, travel grants and physical meetings may give more ground to virtual networks and collaborative information-sharing to maximize global interactions. We recently surveyed all our member societies in order to best understand where we can really have the most impact in this area, and pool our knowledge and resources. We are similarly taking a fresh look at other areas of work, to ensure it’s as focused and impactful as possible. The H. Fleisch Workshop, on the other hand, remains unique in its personal, hands-on mentoring approach, and we have secured an excellent line-up of speakers for next year’s meeting, which is planned for March in Bruges, Belgium.
So, you could say that we’re currently in the process of getting our ducks in a row. By the time of our next newsletter in October, there’ll no doubt be much more to say.
IFMRS Works for All of Us
ISCD representative on the IFMRS Board
I represent the International Society for Clinical Densitometry (ISCD), and am also a member of the ASBMR and the ANZBMS. My own research has spanned a wide variety of topics and settings in bone, from basic mechanistic studies in cultured cells, through biomechanically oriented genetic studies in mice, to patient-oriented research. The IFMRS is important because it uniquely captures the full breadth of locomotor science and the metabolic roles the locomotor system plays beyond movement. We can all learn from each other and gain new insights from considering our favorite problems from a different perspective.
I believe that we are facing a critical moment in our field, and in order to succeed, we will have to act in a more politically astute manner than in the past. Consider your work and who funds it. For most of us, funding is dependent on the perceived importance of the topic to human health. This is clearly borne out when considering the support available for cardiovascular and oncological research. Unfortunately, the relationship has broken down when one compares the burden of musculoskeletal disease and the share of biomedical research funding it attracts. The World Health Organization rates musculoskeletal disorders as second behind cardiovascular disease as a leading source of human suffering . In the US, the conditions attracting the greatest share of research funding are HIV and cancer, while diabetes and musculoskeletal disease are relatively underfunded .
There is an unfortunate tendency to dismiss disorders that impair movement as comparable in importance to those that impair other functions. Fractures and osteoarthritis are not the inevitable consequence of reaching an advanced age, and those suffering from these disorders should not accept “bad luck” as the source of their suffering. We must both make this case directly and reach out to lay groups that can help advance our message.
Moreover, the most important diseases from the perspective of human suffering—osteoporosis and osteoarthritis—are perceived within the research community as being intellectually barren. Neither condition has drugs in the pipeline at present, and I am unaware of promising candidates poised to enter the pharmaceutical pipeline. In contrast, excitement is palpable in the arena of rare bone diseases. This excitement reflects real progress in conditions which, while uncommon, now are amenable to life-changing therapies for affected persons. It’s easy to forget that the most recent addition to the osteoporosis therapeutic armamentarium was also born in the setting of rare bone disease. The Wnt pathway biology underlying romosozumab originated in study of the osteoporosis pseudoglioma syndrome, sclerosteosis, and van Buchem’s disease. Yet, they offered a foothold to discover the major physiological pathway regulating skeletal mass, which could then be applied to osteoporosis. Discovering a previously unrecognized fundamental biological pathway is the holy grail for an investigator, and our own field has provided an example of how rare disease findings can drive advances in common conditions.
The ISCD’s membership is dominated by practicing clinicians, not investigators. Yet, it is important for the musculoskeletal biomedicine community to speak with one voice, and the IFMRS provides the platform for that to occur. It is also essential that there be robust communication between the clinic and the lab, to facilitate translation of gains to patient care, but even more importantly, to feed new questions to an arena in which they can be addressed systematically and rigorously. Sharing knowledge is one of the most effective means by which discovery is accelerated, and our knowledge portal will be instrumental in facilitating that task in the years ahead. Finally, our community has a shared responsibility to develop leaders who will make both the intellectual case and the political case to drive increased sponsorship of our work. The IFMRS’s strategic plan is the vehicle by which these future needs will be addressed. Please take the time to imagine your desired professional landscape 10 years from now and commit to working to bring about that reality by supporting IFMRS.
1. GBD 2016 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators (2017) Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016, Lancet. 390, 1211-1259. 2. Moses, H., 3rd, Matheson, D. H., Cairns-Smith, S., George, B. P., Palisch, C. & Dorsey, E. R. (2015) The anatomy of medical research: US and international comparisons, JAMA. 313, 174-89.
MEMBER SOCIETY NEWS
30th ANZBMS Annual Scientific Meeting Virtual
We're excited to announce this year's exciting ANZBMS programme is now live! Be sure to check out the conference sessions, invited speaker, networking functions and plan your conference schedule.
We are passionate about keeping the scientific engagement alive during this challenging time. This year, our meeting will include a dynamic program of presentations, early career investigator development opportunities, poster sessions and networking functions, including:
Live and interactive Q&A sessions following all oral presentation sessions
Interactive booth displays and poster sessions with break out discussion boards to engage and interact with your peers
ECIC Career Development Session with interactive Q&A panel. An opportunity to seek further career advice from panel members.
Stop, collaborate and listen: The ECIC networking breakfast
8-9 September 2020 - Application deadline extended to Friday 21 August 2020
EFF and ASBMR are pleased to offer fellows training in osteoporosis and other metabolic bone diseases a unique opportunity to participate in the 14th Fellows Forum on Metabolic Bone Diseases on 8-9 September 2020 immediately prior to the ASBMR 2020 Annual Meeting. Both programs will be held virtually.
The Forum will include plenary lectures and breakout sessions led by distinguished leaders in the field. Fellows are encouraged, but not required, to submit an abstract of their work to be included in the interactive poster tour. This is an excellent opportunity to receive faculty feedback on work in progress.
A unique aspect of this program is its international draw. The virtual format this year makes it even easier for us to expand the opportunity to fellows from around the world. All applications must be received by Friday, August 21, 2020
ECTS 2020 Digital:
3 months of educational
and scientific content
The 2020 Annual Meeting of the European Calcified Tissue Society will go ahead on a total new digital format and is turning into the ECTS 2020 Digital Congress. Join us for this virtual event where we will celebrate science in an extensive and rich educational programme with:
Live Prime Time: 3 full days of live virtual event from 22 24 October 2020
ECTS@Home: a series of educational sessions running every week from September to December 2020
ECTS 2020 On Demand: opportunity to watch sessions from the Live Prime Time and ECTS@Home on demand, after the live session is being held.
Accreditation will be seek for the whole ECTS 2020 Digital Congress and it will be offered to ECTS members at a special registration rate. Registrations are now open and if you are not a member you can join us now! Furthermore, we will offer the ECTS 2020 registrants a special 50% discount for the 2021 membership fee.
Webinar on Genetics of Rare Bone Diseases
Jointly organised with ICCBH, you can join Uwe Kornak for a live and interactive webinar on 17 September 2020 at 4pm CEST.
The webinar is free for ECTS members and non-members, but a registration is required. Recordings will be available after the session to ECTS members only. Register now!
Catch up with eLearning by attending our webinar recording – for ECTS members only
Congratulations to this year's ECTS Named Awards and Fellowship Winners:
Prof Outi Mäkitie, Children's Hospital, University of Helsinki, Finland recipient of the 2020 ECTS-Amgen Steven Boonen Award. More informationæ
Prof Rajesh V Thakker, University of Oxford, UK, recipient of the 2020 Philippe Bordier Award. More information
Prof Jane Lian PhD, University of Vermont, USA recipient of the 2020 Mike Horton Award. More information
Dr Andrea Palermo, MD, PhD, Campus Bio-Medico University Rome, Italy, recipient of the 2020 Iain T Boyle Award. More information
Andreas Fontalis, MD MSc MRCS, University of Sheffield and Antonio Maurizi, PhD, University of L’Aquila, awardees of the 2020 Clinical and Basic Fellowship. More information
The nominations for the 2021 Named Awards and applications for the ECTS 2021 Fellowship will open in September 2020. Visit our Grants & Awards webpage.
ISBM Imaging Contest
The International Society of Bone Morphometry (ISBM) hosted its first Imaging Contest on Twitter. The winners included PhD student Martha Blank (St. Vincent's Institute, Australia) and Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Dzenita Muratovic (The University of Adelaide, Australia). Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone that participated! Follow @ISBM_society on Twitter to connect with the Society and to participate in future contests. For more information on the Imaging Contest please click here.
ORS Annual Meeting 2021
The ORS is moving forward with plans for their 2021 Annual Meeting, February 13 – 16, 2021 and recently announced their keynote speakers:
William Taylor, PhD (ON Foundation Keynote Speaker) Kinematics of the Knee Joint in Action
The knee is an outstanding musculoskeletal structure that provides strength and flexibility to enable balance and movement, and an understanding of each individual’s joint motion seems to be the key to implant selection and true kinematic alignment in total knee arthroplasty. However, accurate assessment of its movement patterns is challenging: Not only does soft tissue artefact complicate assessment of the underlying skeletal kinematics, but tracking the joint throughout both loaded and unloaded phases of functional movements is extremely difficult.
William (Bill) Taylor is Professor of Movement Biomechanics at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Through developing medical engineering concepts for evaluating joint stability and stiffness, as well as accurate and robust techniques for assessing motion patterns, his goal is to identify movement pathologies at an early time point, hence allowing therapies to be targeted at the specific individual. In this talk, he will present the group’s tracking dual-plane fluoroscope, which has the potential to revolutionize the assessment of knee pathologies by providing accurate and dynamic access to skeletal movement patterns.
The ORS will also welcome former NASA Astronaut Terry Virts.
Visit the ORS website for more information about the Keynote Speakers, Scientific Workshops, Spotlight Speakers, Career Development Sessions and more.
Togetherness at Time of Covid-19
We, at HubLE, are proud of the success of our first campaign. 'Togetherness at Time of Covid-19' is a special series of HubLE Wish videos and interviews by our editors, advisors and members of the IFMRS and HubLE community around the globe sharing and brining to the fore issues that affect our musculoskeletal research, families and communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.