Fundamental questions about the main symptom of developing osteoarthritis – pain were risen during 13th IASP Research Symposium: “Bridging the gap between Pain research and Osteoarthritis research”. The conference was held in Johannesberg Slott, Stockholm, Sweden between 17 and 19 Sep 2015. As this meeting brought two poles of our scientific interests together, we couldn’t miss it. Therefore very excited and armed with posters Natalia, Agnieszka and Magda flew to rainy and windy Sweden to participate in this event.
Organizers (dr Camilla Svensson and dr Anne-Marie Malfait) were guided by the aim to create an international platform for the exchange of knowledge for basic scientists as well as clinicians focused on pain phenomenon in osteoarthritis and to establish a better understanding of the link between pain characteristics and the disease pathophysiology seen both on the lab bench and at the bedside. The conference successfully covered a wide range of topics including genetics, epidemiology, animal models of OA, bedsides, therapies and novel targets to treat OA pain. Indeed, there were about 70 participants from 16 countries deeply interested in the field making the meeting a perfect place for stimulating debates after lectures, fruitful private discussions behind the scenes and making future collaborations.
The meeting was a great success. Every single talk was spirited and packed with new information adding a new element in this sophisticated but thrilling jigsaw puzzle of pain processing in OA. We learnt a lot about different animal models of OA, their advantages as well as critical limitations, which have to be considered during experiment set up. Thanks to the productive open discussion involving experienced rheumatologists and highly qualified pain researchers we were able . It appeared that there is still a huge discordance between joint structure and referred pain level. Furthermore, there is no satisfactory cure for OA and development of new drug candidates are in a very preliminary stage. There is also an urgent need for better quality, comparability and applicability of data resulted from animal studies. For someone, all that was mentioned above could be saddening and demotivating, but for us it was a strong kick to pursue further research and to strive even harder.
Before the flight back home we had one more day in Stockholm and of course we devoted it to short but intensive sightseeing. During this one (fortunately warm and sunny) day, we took a walk along the streets of the beautiful old town, we visited the City Hall where Nobel Prize Award Ceremony takes place and The Museum of Vasa Ship – King Gustav Adolf’s mighty ship, which sank shortly after embarking on her maiden voyage in 1628 and was salvaged 333 years later. We also contemplated modern art in The Swedish Museum of Photographyand finally had a cup of coffee on the shore. We can’t imagine a better finish to our scientific trip.