The October 22nd Forum, with the theme ‘Cell and gene therapies: a dialogue between patients, physicians and scientists’ presented novel therapies, including endogenous regeneration.

The RegMed Forum which took place in Berlin on Oct 22, 2019, was attended by experts from the Brandburger region of Germany and this year focused on exchange between patients, physicians and scientists on the latest developments, risks, and opportunities afforded by new cell and gene therapies. These topics were reflected in the different sessions focusing on areas in which the development of cell and gene therapies have been used to cure diseases, including immune diseases, immunotherapies for cancer treatments, rare diseases, and tissue engineering.

IOF participated at the session which was dedicated to endogenous regeneration, and more precisely to improving the recovery of muscle function and mobilisation in hip fracture patients. Professor Tobias Winkler, leader of the European funded project HIPGEN, briefly summarized the role of cell therapy for muscle healing and the results of Phases I and II of the HIPGEN clinical trials.

The HIPGEN project aims to bring the first regenerative therapy for improving recovery following a surgically treated injury such as hip fracture to market approval. Hip fractures of the femoral neck are a major public health concern in the EU with an increasing incidence of 1 million patients per year, high direct and indirect costs due to the resulting immobility after fracture and surgery, and a high mortality during the first year. Therapies to address the problem of impaired regeneration and mobility and the consequences, including the high mortality, after hip fracture surgery are urgently needed.

Dr Dominique Pierroz, IOF Science Manager, explained how IOF’s mission, as an umbrella organization for 250 national societies worldwide, is to disseminate knowledge and to mobilize and support the work of patient societies in all regions of the world. She presented IOF programmes such as World Osteoporosis Day which play an important role in global outreach by informing patients about musculoskeletal diseases and urging them to take action for prevention and timely diagnosis.

Patient needs and views are of course critical to the success and acceptance of any new therapy. At the session, a patient with osteoarthritis who had undergone arthroplasty of the right hip explained how she felt before the operation, what prompted her to undergo surgery and participation in the study, and how she feels after the surgery.

Professor Winkler concluded:

"Novel therapies are already reality, but as with any therapy, we need to be sure that it is safe, secure, and effective for the patients. As well, therapies need to be affordable and physicians must be well informed.”