Dr Julien Freitag in Iceland

Dr Julien Freitag recently returned from Iceland where he was a guest expert panelist discussing the latest advances in cartilage injury management.  

Iceland is both a dynamic environmental and cultural experience.  It offers a striking contrast where fire and ice co-exist.  It is a resilient nation which despite its remoteness has a strong history of development, success and perhaps due to the harsh environment a remarkably inventive ingenuity.

All of these features made Iceland a prefect place for an international conference on the latest advances in cartilage injury management. 

The event was hosted by Ossur – an orthopaedic  prosthetic and brace firm which suitably advocates a mantra of `life without limitations’.  Ossur’s dedication and focus towards what they describe as `injury solutions’ lead to the organization of an event with the intention of global open collaboration of ideas, experience and solution development.

The team at Melbourne Stem Cell Centre were delighted that those organizing the conference recognized the important research that we were undertaking.  Indeed, Melbourne Stem Cell Centre is running two of the largest registered controlled trials on the use of regenerative therapies in cartilage injuries and arthritis.

Eminent clinical researchers Dr Jack Farr and Associate Professor Jason Dragoo spoke of their experience in the area of biological scaffolds and implants.  Professor Mats Brittberg – an influential researcher and clinician in the area of cartilage injury management – gave an insightful talk on understanding pain associated with cartilage injury and arthritis.  Professor Wakitani of Japan gave a humble talk about his involvement in the inventive development of stem cell transplantation techniques.  Professor Stefan Marlovits highlighted how management of cartilage injuries is becoming influenced by improved MRI imaging techniques. 

Amongst these prominent clinicians I was given the opportunity to present initial outcome data from our research.  Importantly I was able to present a clear and encouraging message on the benefits of stem cell therapies with statistically significant improvement in both pain and function being achieved within 3months of commencement of treatment.

The conference highlighted that we are working within an emerging and exciting field with international research focused towards solution development – research that is now showing that a solution is achievable and not just hypothetical.