Highlights from the 2015 Musculoskeletal Congress in Belfast Northern Ireland

The 14th WFH International Musculoskeletal Congress held on May 7-10, 2015 in Belfast Northern Ireland was once again a huge success. The last four MSK Congresses attracted record-breaking attendance, and this year was no exception; the four day gathering was attended by over 375 international participants from over 60 countries.

The opening ceremony began the official start of the Congress with remarks from the Master of Ceremonies, Assad Haffar, MD.   Mauricio Silva, MD, chair of the WFH Musculoskeletal Committee and Liz Caroll, Chief Executive of the Haemophilia Society, each welcomed the participants to Belfast and highlighted the significance of the event.  The keynote speaker, Alain Weill, WFH president, addressed the question, “What will it take to close the gap?” The final presentation was given by Antonio Almeida, the WFH programs director who announced the next site for the 15th WFH International Musculoskeletal Congress in Seoul, Korea.

The robust Congress program featured over 40 leading expert speakers in their different fields all focusing on a comprehensive musculoskeletal approach to hemophilia; continuing its tradition of promoting interaction and collaboration across the musculoskeletal disciplines. The speakers reviewed the most relevant and up-to-date evidence on their clinical topics, generating debates and discussions well into the social program.


Many of the presenters were new to the WFH Musculoskeletal Congress, bringing a fresh perspective to the program.   Highlights included Kevin Ryan, Consultant Haematologist at the National Centre for Hereditary Coagulation Disorders for St. James’s Hospital and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.  Ryan stressed the importance of accurate and comprehensive outcome measurement to increase the quality of research into treatment of hemophilia and related disorders.  Amit Nathwani, Professor of Haematology and Director of the Katharine Dormandy Haemophilia Centre and Thrombosis Unit at the Royal Free Hospital summarized how far we have come from prophylaxis to gene therapy.  The preliminary results of the safety and efficacy of a bolus peripheral vein infusion of the novel scAAV2/8-LP1-hFIXco for patients with hemophilia B are encouraging for prospects in the treatment of hemophilia A and announced that a clinical trial in hemophilia A will begin in the first quarter of 2016.

Another highlight of the Congress was a session given by Panagiotis Anagnostis, MD, Endocrinologist at the Haemophilia Center of Northern Greece of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.  Anagnostis was questioned if osteoporosis and hemophilia was a real clinical problem and concluded that the current data strongly supports the association between haemophilia A and B and decreased BMD, a process that initiates from childhood and that prospective cohort studies focusing on fracture incidence are needed to better estimate fracture risk in this population.

During the Annual General Assembly of the Congress SM Javad Mortazavi, MD, from Tehran University of Medical Sciences was presented with the Henri Horoszowski award for the best free paper presentation.

Kathy Mulder was awarded the prestigious Pietrogrande Prize recognizing a healthcare professional who has contributed significantly to further the mission and goals of the Musculoskeletal Committee of the WFH.  Kathy has and continues to work as a physiotherapist WFH volunteer since 2000.

The WFH would like to thank all participants and exhibitors for making this an extraordinary event. We hope to see you all at the WFH 2016 World Congress in Orlando, USA, July 24-28, 2016 and at the next Musculoskeletal Congress in Seoul, Korea.