Welcome by the Scientific Programme Committee
It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to Vancouver for the 15th Congress of the International Cartilage Repair and Joint Preservation Society (ICRS). As Program Chairs we are extremely grateful to all the invited speakers who have agreed to come to Canada to share their knowledge, with the collective aim of advancing the understanding of joint injury, injury prevention, repair, degeneration, reconstruction and rehabilitation, so as to prolong joint health, maintain patient function, mobility and quality of life.
We also thank Stephan Seiler and the ICRS office team for all their hard work behind the scenes in organizing this meeting. It really is a monumental task, and we are grateful for all their assistance in putting together what we feel is a top-class program.
The overarching theme of this year’s congress is that of ‘The Next Generation’. This encompasses the next generation of technologies, techniques and of course, researchers. In keeping with this theme, we have tried to showcase new areas of research by emerging leaders in their respective fields, with the aim of bringing new ideas and new perspectives to ICRS, which we feel is extremely fitting in light of the evolution of our societies name and mission, to that of ‘joint repair and preservation’.
With the congress venue being Vancouver, we are particularly proud to be recognizing the Arthroscopy Association of Canada (AAC) as our partner society for this meeting. For the first time, the opening session will commence with a presentation from a patient alongside a number of Canadian researchers and clinicians. We hope this will help all participants focus and reflect on ultimately why we do what we do – trying to improve patient outcomes. The contribution from Mr. Patrick Dowling is greatly anticipated and we are extremely grateful to him for offering his time and sharing his perspectives with us.
We also recognize that healthcare is facing some tough challenges ahead. The cost of healthcare provision continues to rise, a fact that may be seen as particularly problematic with the continued evolution of orthobiologics and the ever-increasing costs of regulatory approval for new, innovative technologies. We therefore have a session on cost effectiveness, and how we may need to focus on harnessing better, cheaper methods of treatment. We will also have a session focusing on ‘stem cells’, the consistently changing landscape of cell-based therapies. Leading researchers will provide their perspective on the facts – ‘Stem cells without the hype’. No doubt both of these sessions will provide some lively discussion and perhaps some controversy….
We are grateful to the many clinicians and researchers who submitted their highly valued work to be presented at our congress. It was an extremely tough task for the program committee in selecting work that we felt was best suited for this meeting, but in doing so, we hope you will join us in recognizing the incredible work that is being performed worldwide in this highly demanding field. Without these ongoing efforts it would not be possible to move the needle in the direction of enhanced patient care.
Lastly, we hope that you all take advantage of the amazing networking opportunity that an ICRS congress provides. It truly is a unique entity, where clinicians, scientists and industry representatives from all over the world meet in academic forums, but also socially, and share ideas. Our local hosts Bob McCormack and Mark Hurtig have provided an incredible backdrop for the meeting with the multiple social events planned. As such, we have no doubt that you will all have a fabulous time at ICRS in Vancouver. See you there!
Al Getgood and Lucienne Vonk
Scientific Programme Co-Chairs