Potential stem cell therapies moving from lab bench to clinical application

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Stem cell research is leading to potential new therapies to treat disease, with several applications in clinical trials or expected to enter trials in the coming months. These new discoveries are transforming how we think of medicine and will be key to discussions at the International Society for Stem Cell Research annual meeting, 26-29 June at the Los Angeles Convention Center. More than 4,000 scientists, bioethicists, clinicians, industry professionals, and others from over 50 countries will present the latest scientific discoveries in more than 200 talks and 27 cutting-edge sessions.

"Stem cell science is rapidly transforming how we think about the future of medicine," said ISSCR president Douglas Melton. "Findings presented at our meeting are at the leading edge of biomedical research, advancing the field in both basic and clinical research, and bringing with them important implications for the healthcare industry, academic research, medical applications, and policy makers," he said. "The field is actively working to address how we facilitate getting potential therapies from the lab bench to clinical application."

The world's largest meeting focused on stem cell research, ISSCR 2019 features lectures, workshops, poster presentations, and a dynamic exhibition floor. More than 200 talks focus on a diverse array of topics spanning the breadth of the field, including cell-based disease modeling, heterogeneity, pluripotency, gene editing and gene therapy, stem cell aging, tissue engineering, stem cell ethics, and many others. The full meeting schedule of scientific presentations includes seven plenary presentations and 20 concurrent sessions, as well as innovation showcases and focus sessions that feature discussions of new methods and discoveries.

Keynote remarks will be delivered by Nobel laureates Shinya Yamanaka and John Gurdon, who together won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012 for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells. Gurdon will speak on 26 June, 13:35, and Yamanaka will address the meeting on 29 June, 16:00.

The meeting partner, USC Stem Cell, will be hosting a free public forum, "Bringing Stem Cells to Patients: Treating Age-Related Blindness," on 26 June, 18:30- 20:00 on the lawn outside the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. Los Angeles-based researchers will present the latest developments in treatment for age-related macular degeneration; more information about the event is available on the USC website.

A workshop, "Advancing Clinical Trials with Stem Cells," 25 June, 9:00-17:45, will focus on how to move potential therapies from the laboratory to the clinic. Guests representing the biomedical industry, academia, regulatory agencies, and healthcare, will discuss what is needed to prepare for clinical trials and how to navigate the process through scientific and regulatory challenges. The session will be held from 9:00 - 17:45 at Cedars-Sinai Harvey Morse Auditorium, 8701 Gracie Allen Drive, Los Angeles, Calif. Media registration is limited.

Several researchers will be honored with outstanding achievement awards at the meeting:

* John E. Dick, University of Toronto, Canada, will receive the ISSCR Award for Innovation, 28 June, 10:50;

* Barbara Treutlein, ETH Zurich, Switzerland will receive the ISSCR Dr. Susan Lim Award for Outstanding Young Investigator, 29 June, 10:50;

* Scott Armstrong, Harvard Medical School, U.S. will deliver the ISSCR Tobias Award Lecture, 29 June, 16:05;

* Eli and Edythe Broad, Founders, The Broad Foundation, U.S. will receive the Public Service Award, 26 June, 13:10.

Programming for the media is scheduled for 27 and 28 June, with news conferences at the Los Angeles Convention, Room 514, as follows:

Translating Stem Cell Therapies: From the Lab to Patients, Thursday, 27 June, 11:30 - 12:30

Stem cell research is advancing rapidly, and the FDA anticipates receiving more than 200 new applications for cell and gene therapy products each year beginning in 2020. Speakers will discuss which stem cell treatments hold the most promise and what the challenges or concerns are in translating scientific discoveries to therapeutic applications in patients.

Stem Cell Insights into Disease & Treatment, Friday, 28 June, 7:30 - 8:30

The discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and organoids -- the capability to grow cells in 3D to model tissue and organ development-- has given researchers the ability to more easily grow many human cell types and mini-organs in the lab. This panel will discuss the latest advances in modeling diseases using stem cells and for potential new therapies.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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