The „Österreichische Gesellschaft für Knochen und Mineralstoffwechsel – ÖGKM“(www.oegkm.at) or „Austrian Bone and Mineral Society – ABMS“ was founded during the ECTS Congress in Vienna, 1991.
The „founding fathers“ of our society, Meinrad Peterlik and Klaus Klaushofer, who were even at this time in the 1980’s widely renowned researchers in the field of bone and mineral metabolism, both saw the necessity and the chance to establish a multi-professional and interdisciplinary society to accommodate all the Austrian basic and clinical research groups working in the field, giving them a platform to coordinate and streamline their research efforts as well as helping to establish international contacts and co-operations.
As of today, the society has about 250 members from various professions and institutions. A broad range of medical specialties are represented in the group of clinical researchers, mirroring the importance of bone diseases in clinical practice. We have members working in endocrinology, rheumatology, orthopaedics, oncology, dental research, radiology and physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Our society has stimulated the cooperation of Austrian research working groups nationally and internationally, leading to a high output of excellent research papers in high impact journals.
At the Medical University of Vienna, one basic research group is specialized in osteoimmunology and osteoclastogenesis; also in Vienna, at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Osteology another basic research group with international collaborators is focusing on bone microstructure, mineralization and gene expression in bone diseases, especially their expertise in disturbances of bone mineralization e.g. in osteogenesis imperfecta is noteworthy and their publications have been drawing international attention. Basic and clinical research on a very high and also international level is done at the Medical University in Graz including bone metabolism, genetics and micro-RNAs and their relations to energy and hormone metabolism. The division in Graz is contributing excellent research regarding various forms of osteoporosis and clinical interventions as well as fracture incidence on a national level, providing data for fracture risk models like FRAX. In Vienna, another clinical research group for years has been producing exciting data regarding bone disease, looking at new combination treatments and special patient groups in respect to osteoporosis.
Both in Vienna and in Graz Micro-CT and HRpQCT analyses in vivo are included in the arsenal to explore clinical features of bone diseases.
ABMS also supports investigators with stipends and prizes, the most distinguished being the International Research Prize, which has been awarded to outstanding experts in the field like Anna Teti, Jack Martin, Henry Kroonenberg and Josef Penninger, just to name a few. This year’s prize winner is Michael Whyte for his achievements regarding hypophosphatasia. The prize will be awarded at the Austrian Bone Conference 2018, a biennial event held in Vienna and with its focus on current international and domestic research activities, both basic and clinical (www.austrianbone2018.org). If you are interested to participate, we are looking forward to welcome you in Vienna!
Another event organized yearly by the society is the Austrian Osteoporosis Forum. The aim of this very popular conference is to provide clinicians and doctors in medical practice with clinical strategies and inform them about new developments in metabolic bone diseases; it has a distinct educational character and draws up to 400 participants every year.
Our society is closely affiliated with the DVO, the umbrella organization of German speaking osteologic societies and has regularly participated in drafting and implementing guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of metabolic bone diseases, namely osteoporosis (www.dv-osteologie.org). ABMS is also a member of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) and many of our members are also participating in ECTS activities.
Some difficulties for the society arise from the waning support by the industry and shrinking support of research activities by national authorities. ABMS is looking for new partners in Europe to enhance research activities by co-operations, and any group that is interested in opening up channels of discussion and possible cooperation are cordially invited to contact the ABMS or myself to obtain more information. Together we might be able to further increase research activities in the field of bone to achieve lasting benefits for our patients.
Peter M. Bernecker, MD
Austrian Bone and Mineral Society