Dr. Francis Hornicek Chosen to Head International Society of Limb Salvage

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Francis Hornicek, M.D., Ph.D., director of orthopaedic oncology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and chair of the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was named president of the International Society of Limb Salvage (ISOLS) at the organization’s 2022 general meeting in Los Angeles.

Francis Hornicek, M.D., Ph.D.

Founded in 1981, the ISOLS is the premier global organization promoting research, clinical practice, and education related to musculoskeletal tumors, and developing improvements in patient care involving limb salvage. To achieve these goals, it brings together physicians, engineers, scientists, and other experts from all over the world.

In an interview from the conference, held at the University of California, Los Angeles, the new president said that his main goals are to “further unite efforts to improve sarcoma care, offer solutions to problems with diverse ways of thought, and bring together scientists and physicians building multidisciplinary programs across the world.”

Headquartered in Vienna, the ISOLS “is the major international organization dealing with sarcoma patients to improve their survival and quality of life,” Dr. Hornicek said. “We share the experience of cases from around the world. We are not competitive — we’re one of the world’s most collegiate societies.”

The group’s members also apply their expertise in implants and prosthetics to other limb-related injuries caused by major traumas, injuries, birth defects, and infections, he added.

A colleague at the conference with Dr. Hornicek during the interview noted that  his appointment as ISOLS president was a well-deserved honor.

“Dr. Hornicek won’t say so, but he’s recognized as one of the world’s most experienced orthopaedic surgeons and an international authority,” said Dr. Peter Steadman, an ISOLS board member and professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Queensland in Australia. Dr. Steadman, who has been attending ISOLS meetings since 1999, said that the conferences are great opportunities to “celebrate successes, but importantly often to share difficult cases and learn from each other.”

Dr. Hornicek said that while his ISOLS post will add to his international travel time, he will still be treating patients, carrying out complex teaching, and conducting research at UHealth. “It’s a difficult work-life balance,” he said.

Dr. Hornicek earned his Ph.D. in physics-biophysics at Georgetown University and his M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his orthopaedic surgical residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital and began his teaching career on the faculty of the Miller School.

Dr. Hornicek addressing the 2022 general meeting of the ISOLS in Los Angeles.

After joining the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1998, he became its chief of the musculoskeletal oncology service. While there, he gained international recognition in orthopaedic oncology and treatment of chordoma, establishing the Stephen L. Harris Chordoma Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

In 2017, he moved to UCLA as professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, where his research work included heterotopic ossification, allograph transplantation, immunotherapy and outcome research for musculoskeletal tumors.

UHealth named Dr. Hornicek to his current positions at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Miller School in early 2021. He has authored numerous academic papers on the molecular biology of sarcomas, surgical techniques, and related subjects in orthopaedic oncology, and his research has received extensive financial support from the federal government’s National Institutes of Health, charitable organizations, and private companies.

Dr. Hornicek said he was particularly proud of his recent research on using nanoparticles to treat sarcomas. He and Pratim Biswas, Ph.D., dean of the University of Miami College of Engineering, submitted a grant application for research into using nanoparticles for drug delivery to tumors, as well as for imaging and chemotherapy.

Since the 1980s, Dr. Hornicek has played an important role in improving the safety of tissue banks on an international scale.

Earlier this year, he was named a fellow of the prestigious Orthopaedic Research Society, in recognition of his contributions to sarcoma care and research.

Dr. Hornicek will remain in the president’s post until the next general meeting of ISOLS in Australia in 2024.

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