iPSpine Patient Symposium

What does the current treatment landscape for lower back pain look like and what are the challenges? Is there a cure for chronic back pain on the horizon? On Tuesday April 16th, lower back pain patients, researchers and medical professionals came together to address these topics and to learn more about the recent advances of the iPSpine project.  

Patient experiences

Professor Marianna Tryfonidou, the coordinator of the iPSpine project, kicked off the symposium with an icebreaker activity. Participants were triggered by several myths and truths about lower back pain. For example, should people with lower back pain avoid any kind of movement? Can lower back pain only be cured by surgery and replacing the disc? Or are induced pluripotent stem cells really a powerful treatment option, which is yet still 5-10 years away from use in the clinics? Topics like these sparked interactive discussions between patients and researchers, exchanging experiences from both perspectives. Many patients shared their personal experiences suffering from lower back pain, and iPSpine researchers shared insights from a scientific perspective working on the iPSpine project 

“The patient symposium of iPSpine was exceptionally interesting! Firstly, because of the topic, but secondly because explanations were provided in understandable Dutch for those who didn’t understand. Furthermore, all professionals were very approachable for questions, suggestions, etc., which made it extra valuable.” 

–  Karin Tjin A Djie-Blokker, lower back pain patient and visitor iPSpine Patient Symposium 

Promising scientific results

The iPSpine project started in 2019 and has since booked great progress. Dr. Lisanne Laagland and Professor Marianna Tryfonidou presented the results and progress that was made since the start of the project. Working with so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, as well as smart biomaterials, the iPSpine project set out to investigate if our discs could regenerate themselves to eliminate the chronic pain. The first results look promising! This video explains the latest progress from iPSpine: 

The clinical perspective

To share the clinical insights on current lower back pain treatment, we invited Dr. Eva Jacobs, a renowned orthopaedic surgeon from Maastricht UMC+. She delivered an enthusiastic and engaging presentation, delving into current treatments for lower back pain and the associated challenges. This sparked a lot of interaction. Many patients had interesting questions for Eva and shared their personal clinical journeys and experiences during this session. 

I am grateful to our patient experts and symposium participants who shared personal stories with us, and importantly, the questions that matter to them! This unique opportunity allows us to see and realize the context of the lower back pain patients. Their stories fuel our motivation to further pursuing the first-in-class iPSpine therapy.

Prof. Marianna Tryfonidou, coordinator iPSpine project 

Overall, the iPSpine Patient Symposium provided a wonderful opportunity for patients, medical professionals and researchers to connect and share their insights and experiences on lower back pain in an informal way.

And is there a cure for chronic back pain on the horizon? The overall message from the iPSpine Patient Symposium was clear: more research is still needed, but iPSpine’s results provide a promising first step.