Philadelphia Spine Research Symposium Explores Lower Back Pain

Published on Wednesday June 7, 2006

Leading Philadelphia spine researchers gathered at Drexel University’s Bossone Research Enterprise Center on Tuesday, June 6, 2006 at 3:00 PM for a symposium aimed at identifying and understanding the mechanisms of back and neck pain.

Organized by the Philadelphia Spine Research Society, founded in 2006 by Dr. Michele Marcolongo of Drexel University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the symposium brought together spine researchers from university, clinical, and corporate backgrounds to focus on the origin and mechanisms associated with lower back pain, in particular with pain associated with the intervertebral disc.

Six speakers from the local research and clinical community presented their findings on back and neck pain from the molecular viewpoint, through pharmaceutical treatment and surgical options, including medical device treatments happening in the Delaware Valley. With over 60 attendees, the Symposium attracted some of the best minds in the field of Spine Research in the region.

Featured speakers included:

  • Dr. Alex Vaccaro, M.D.; Thomas Jefferson University, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Dr. Dottie Brown, D.V.M.; University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr. Phil Maurer, M.D.; Pennsylvania and Lankenau Hospitals, Department of Orthopaedics
  • Dr. Evan Frank, M.D.; Graduate Hospital Pain Center
  • Dr. Beth Winkelstein, Ph.D.; University of Pennsylvania, Department of Bioengineering
  • Dr. Makarand Risbud, Ph.D.; Thomas Jefferson University, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Research

While several recent studies have revealed the presence of nerve fibers in the disc in different regions, it remains difficult to identify an individual patient’s pain as tied to a specific location or triggered pain pathway in the spine.  This symposium aimed at addressing these issues with leading pain researchers and clinicians from the region participating in lectures, as well as an open panel discussion on the topic.