Melbourne conference first of its kind

September 2016

Ambassador Professor Ravi Savarirayan, with support from Club Melbourne, is responsible for establishing the first Asia Pacific Bone Disorders Symposium, taking place in Melbourne later this month.

The symposium will attract clinicians, allied health workers, researchers, students and scientists. What makes the symposium unique is it is also suitable for patients and families who would like to attend and learn more about their conditions.

The work of Professor Savarirayan
Ambassador Professor Ravi Savarirayan is the Chair of the Organising Committee. He is also Professor of Human (Clinical) Genetics at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. 

Professor Savarirayan is involved with one of the new emerging therapies in skeletal dysplasia. He is the principal investigator that oversees the anchondroplasia (a form of dwarfism) clinical trial, which is developing a drug to combat the disorder.

He said, “the gene that is responsible for anchondroplasia has been known for twenty years, but it wasn’t until the discovery of a small molecule (CNP) that a treatment was in the realm of possibility.”

CNP is thought to be involved in maintaining the body’s sodium balance and also an important growth regulator. It blocks the pathway responsible for the genetic bone disorder.

It is the largest clinical trial on children to date and the current evidence suggests the drug is safe and is effective. Because of this encouraging data, the clinical trial has been extended by two years. Professor Savarirayan is quick to point out that it’s still early days yet, but that he is optimistic about the outcome. 

Clinical trial therapies such as the one Professor Savarirayan is involved in will be one aspect featured at the symposium, which will also include sessions about diagnosis and treatment options for inherited skeletal disorders.

The benefits to Melbourne 
When asked why hosting the symposium is so beneficial to Melbourne and why the city was best suited to host the first symposium of its kind, Professor Savarirayan said, “I think Melbourne draws people here, it showcases our science and why it is one of the most liveable places on Earth.”

Professor Savarirayan hopes the symposium is a resounding success to establish it as a biennial event. Holding it in the city that is renowned for its ability to host an international conference makes this ambition all the more likely. 

Within the skeletal disorder sector itself, Melbourne stacks up when compared to the rest of the world. According to Professor Savarirayan, “we are global leaders in research and clinical capacity. The 'Parkville precinct' is world class in terms of science and translational research.”

Professor Savarirayan is excited to be hosting the first Asia-Pacific symposium. He is particularly interested in “meeting people from around the region and hearing the latest research.” He is also looking forward to the joint symposium with the family support group (SSPA) on the Saturday.

If you’re someone who is interested in bone disorders, works in the field or have family members affect with skeletal dysplasia, you can join Professor Savarirayan at the 1st Asia Pacific Bone Disorders Symposium, 23-24 September.