The first µbone (Microbone) conference took place in Dresden on February 11-12, 2019. An interactive program of lectures, posters and workshops with 70 scientists from Germany’s top institutions in bone and cancer research invited for discussion and exchange of ideas. One highlight of the program was the keynote lecture by Professor Peter Croucher of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia.
“A better understanding of how tumor cells home to bone is the basis of new cancer therapies in the future”. With this opening statement, Professor Lorenz Hofbauer, Head of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Diseases at the University Hospital Dresden the speaker of the DFG-funded Microbone program, started this year’s conference.
In his introduction, Lorenz Hofbauer presented the “Microbone Program”. Scientists from all over Germany work together to prevent, control or treat bone metastases after a previous breast or prostate cancer disease. Hofbauer exemplified how modern cancer and bone research can be improved through interdisciplinarity, active collaboration and application of state-of-the-art technologies. More than 100 scientists, physicians, junior scientists and technical assistants with 23 subprojects at 15 prestigious institutions spread across 10 cities within Germany are working on the joint task of developing individual therapies for the treatment of bone metastases.
Peter Croucher, an internationally renowned bone tumor expert from Sydney, highlighted the importance of the neighborhood, i.e. the immediate vicinity of the bone and bone marrow microenvironment with the tumor cells. His account of the importance of inflammatory processes and blood supply to the development and progression of myeloma was followed by a lively debate.
In the panels Histo-Pathology, Breast and Prostate Cancer Models, Animal Models, Liquid Biopsy and Myeloma Bone Disease, scientists and physicians presented their latest findings and concepts on these topics. This format featured leading scientists on bone metastases, including Lübeck pathologist Sven Perner, a renowned prostate cancer expert, and Klaus Pantel, a pioneer of circulating tumor cells from Hamburg. Hofbauer concluded the conference by emphasizing the importance of a concerted research action that combines collaboration, knowledge exchange and out of the box thinking.