II Stem Cell Conference

Tomasz Trafny Monsignor Trafny speaking during the Press Conference

The Second International Stem Conference took place in the Vatican from 11-13 April 2013 and with its focus on Regenerative Medicine — A Fundamental Shift in Science & Culture.

This second event is a continuation of a five-year collaboration between the Pontifical Council for Culture and NeoStem Inc., through their non-profit organizations STOQ International (Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest) and the Stem for Life Foundation. While STOQ is aimed at building bridges between science and faith, Stem for Life Foundation is devoted to raising global awareness of the therapeutic potential of adult stem cells.

With renowned journalists serving as moderators — Meredith Vieira from NBC News, Bill Hemmer from The Fox News Channel, Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal and Dr. Max Gomez from WCBS-TV — The Second International Vatican Adult Stem CellConference featured leading adult stem cell scientists and clinicians, thought leaders of faith, ethics and culture, business leaders as well as Ministers of Health, Ambassadors to The Holy See and regulatory officials from around the world. During the event, adult stem cell scientists and clinicians presented an array of ongoing medical advancements throughout the world including regrowing damaged and diseased organs; regenerating damaged tissue caused by heart attacks; regrowing new skin for burn victims; rebalancing our own immune systems, pushing back a rising tide of chronic diseases; advancements in pediatric cancers; preventing organ rejection and addressing a range of other conditions and trauma, such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injuries via adult stem cell therapies. During the event, patients told their own dramatic stories of the unique, powerful treatments that have helped address their disease and reduce suffering.

The Holy See supports ethically correct research and sustains and encourages scientific investigation carried out respecting moral values, the dignity of the human person, and the willingness to bring benefits for humanity. The organizers of this conference aim to promote understanding of developments within medical research, exploring their possible cultural consequences, as well as making these results available to all who suffer or assist the sick.

The conference had the valuable collaboration and support from the Pontifical Academy for Life, from the Pontifical Council for Family, and from many benefactors. Some corporate sponsors of the conference include NeoStem, Mesoblast, Celgene, Opexa Therapeutics, Lowenstein Sandler, Aspire Capital Partner, Kenyon & Kenyon, and the Maxim Group. Major support also comes from philanthropists who believe in the promise of adult stem cells, some of whom were honored for their contributions at the conference.

“Regenerative medicine is poised to revolutionize disease management by finding new ways to boost the body’s ability to heal itself. Whereas today treatment for many diseases is a matter of managing symptoms, regenerative medicine seeks to reverse the course of the disease by targeting its cause and repairing diseased or defective tissues or organs,” said Dr. Robin Smith, President of The Stem for Life Foundation.

Day 1 of the program, Thursday, April 11, 2013, was moderated by Meredith Vieira from NBC News and highlights included:

·         Hope for the future of adult stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis (“MS”), featuring Richard M. Cohen, journalists and husband of Ms. Vieira, Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University, Dr. Saud Sadiq of the MS Research Center of New York, MS patients who have been successfully treated with adult stem cells, and a look at the Tcelna™ T-cell immunotherapy for MS in development by Opexa Therapeutics

·         Overview of contemporary stem cell transplants and current research for cancer treatment andosteogenesis imperfect with field experts

·         An in-depth look at many of the companies making progress in developing adult stem cell therapies for cardiovascular disease, including NeoStem, Athersys, and Mesoblast as well as discussion a discussion of autologous and allogeneic approaches

Day 2 of the program, Friday, April 12, 2013, was moderated by Bill Hemmer from The Fox News Channel and highlights included:

·         A dynamic panel on the politics, perceptions and promise of cell therapies, moderated by Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal and featuring former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary and Governor, Tommy G. Thompson, former U.S. Senator, Norm Coleman, former member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, William Hurlbut, and University College London Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing, Christopher Mason

·         Keynote speech by Dr. John Gurdon, 2012 Nobel Prize Winner for Physiology or Medicine for his work on transforming adult cells into stem cells

·         Sessions on developments in cellular therapies for organ and tissue repair and diabetes as well as opportunities for autoimmune treatment using placental stem cells

The program concluded on Saturday, April 13, 2013, with moderation by Dr. Max Gomez from WBS-TV. Day 3 will include panel discussions on stem cells, cancer, and aging, looking at the new frontiers of cellular research pertaining to longevity, epigenetics and disease resistance, with a unique look at ‘Laron dwarfs’ and their absence of cancer and chronic disease.

To learn more about The Second International Vatican Adult Stem CellConference please visit www.adultstemcellconference.org