APCO was proud to play a vital role in the hugely successful WCO-IOF-ESCEO Barcelona 2023 that closed on May 7th with more than 7611 registrants. The World Congress on Osteoporosis (WCO) -the largest Musculoskeletal congress in the world was held this year in a predominantly F2F format in the beautiful city of Barcelona. APCO was represented by several of its members including its Chairperson – Prof Manju Chandran and Scientific advisory members including Prof Ambrish Mithal, Prof Peter Ebeling, Dr Greg Lyubomirsky,Prof Ding Chen (Derrick) Chan, Prof Moe Wint Aung, Prof Tet Tun Chit,Dr Tanawat Amphansap and Dr. Myadagmaa Jaalkhorol. Profs Chandran, Mithal and Ebeling also attended the Board and Council of Scientific Advisors (CSA) Work group meetings which were held prior to the main congress.
APCO had a booth at the Committee of National Societies (CNS) Village which allowed us to showcase our Vision, Mission and the activities and projects we have been involved in since our launch in 2019.
Prof Manju Chandran was honoured with the physical handing over of the 2021 Olof Johnell Science Award at a special ceremony on May 6th dedicated to the award recipients for 2020, 2021 and 2022 who because of the pandemic were unable to receive it in person during those years.
The Disorders of Phosphate Homeostasis Meet the Expert Session that Prof Chandran helmed on the 5th of May got a significant amount of positive feedback and was attended by an audience who eagerly took part in the interactive discussions of the challenging cases put forward by her. Through the cases she discussed, Prof Chandran highlighted the importance of recognizing phosphate wasting disorders that sadly go undiagnosed and misdiagnosed.
Prof Ebeling spoke on the impact on bone health and the risk of any type of fractures that are associated with Obesity and weight loss in his plenary lecture in the afternoon of the 5th. This insightful lecture was well received, and it was followed by a robust Q and A session.
The Non Sponsored Symposium is a unique feature of the World Congress that allows scientists and clinicians from across the world to showcase the latest cutting-edge research that they are involved in or bring to attention topics of particular temporal importance and which may fall outside the scope of traditional symposia and plenary sessions.
One of the highlights of the WCO 2023 was the NSS on Fracture Healing and the impact of osteoporosis medications on it. This NSS was coordinated by Prof Chandran and had eminent speakers such as Prof Stuart Silverman, Prof Kristina Åkesson and Prof Kassim Javaid. Prof Chandran presented on the very controversial topic of the role of Bisphosphonates on Fracture healing at this symposium. The session was attended by a very engaged audience who packed the room as well as spilled out to the outside – a testament to both the quality of the presentations that comprised this NSS, but also, the keen interest that healthcare providers have in this topic. The general recommendations provided at this symposium were that though the topic remains controversial, overall, osteoporosis agents do not have a deleterious impact on fracture healing in humans.
Prof Chandran also spoke at another NSS that was organized around Bone Health Tele-ECHO, about the challenges that can be expected for the implementation of this innovative, world-renowned programme that helps develop communities of good practice, in the vast and diverse region which is the Asia Pacific. She announced that APCO would be collaborating with Bone Health Tele ECHO Australia -New Zealand to expand it to an Australasian network and though several challenges exist, solutions can be found for most of them with persistence and commitment to the cause as well as with the help of an international body such as IOF. Both APCO and Bone Health Tele ECHO are CNS members of the IOF.
Prof Chandran and Prof Mithal are also part of the WHO Bone Health Expert Working Group- a WHO initiative in collaboration with ESCEO and IOF that aims to provide scientific guidance on the screening, diagnosis, and management of osteoporosis around the globe. The Working Group had its first F2F meeting on the evening of the 5th of May 2023.
Prof Mithal who is Chairperson, Division of Endocrinology, MAX Hospitals, Gurgaon, India, and Board Member of the IOF stated “Over the years, the WCO-IOF-ESCEO has evolved into a truly global meeting with high quality science being presented from across the world. In addition to the exciting scientific content that IOF promotes, its truly noble initiative of involving regional societies and giving them prominence and exposure has made the WCO a true global forum for the advancement of musculoskeletal health in populations across the world. APCO, an innovative initiative from the AP region had a big presence at the WCO with its executive and scientific advisory members playing a major role in the academic sessions as well as in numerous committee and board meetings -all of which could influence future health care policy in the AP region”.