UM’s Stem Cell and Diabetes Research Institutes Co-Sponsor World Stem Cell Summit

The Miller School’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute and Diabetes Research Institute will be taking the lead on the world stage of stem cell research, uniting with the Genetics Policy Institute to co-sponsor and organize the world’s largest and most comprehensive multi-track interdisciplinary stem cell conference.

The 8th annual World Stem Cell Summit, to be held December 3-5, 2012, at the Palm Beach Convention Center in West Palm Beach, will gather more than 170 renowned international scientists, advocates and speakers in the field of regenerative medicine. Prominent researchers, clinicians, industry leaders, philanthropists, and ethicists will discuss the latest scientific discoveries, translational issues, and best practices in the field during an estimated 50 hours of in-depth programming.

“We are enormously excited about taking a lead role at this global meeting,” said Joshua M. Hare, M.D., director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute. “Our Institute was established with the precise goal of unleashing the potential of stem cells through translational research, transdisciplinary collaboration and transformative medicine. The Summit is an extraordinarily prestigious event that will provide ISCI with a powerful platform to showcase our story to the entire world.”

Hare is currently leading a handful of NIH-funded stem cell clinical trials in cardiac patients, and has published studies indicating that mesenchymal stem cells improve damaged heart tissue and heart function.

Camillo Ricordi, M.D., director of the Diabetes Research Institute and a world-renowned pioneer in cure-focused research on diabetes, says the disease currently affects more than 360 million people worldwide and is predicted to pass the 500 million mark within the next 18 years.

“Stem cells are central to ongoing cure-focused strategies at the DRI, and at over 30 collaborating centers worldwide that comprise the DRI Federation and the Cure Alliance,” Ricordi said. “The World Stem Cell Summit offers researchers and patients invaluable opportunities to learn, network and forge collaborations to reach our collective goals to accelerate therapies and find an ultimate cure for diabetes and other devastating disease conditions now afflicting humankind.”

South Florida was selected as the location for the 2012 Summit because of the region’s commitment to biomedical research and the local philanthropic community’s commitment to funding innovation in the life sciences. The Summit program will focus on the scientific track of stem cell research (embryonic, adult and reprogrammed cells), disease models, drug discovery, tissue engineering and nanotechnology. More than 1,200 attendees from 25 nations will hear progress reports in the fields of cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injury, neurological disorders and cardiovascular disease.

The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the Miller School will soon begin using cellular therapy in a clinical trial with spinal cord injury patients. W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D., scientific director of The Miami Project, says the field is moving forward because of translational and clinical activities. “Several cellular therapies including adult and embryonic stem cells together with autologous Schwann cell transplantation have provided encouraging results in preclinical models of spinal cord injury and are now being translated to the clinic.”

Bernard Siegel, founder of the Summit and executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, said, “Stem cell research and regenerative medicine represent the future of medicine. The World Stem Cell Summit unites the global stem cell stakeholders and has a track record of presenting breakthrough science, providing networking opportunities and fostering public awareness to advance this burgeoning field. We are very proud to stage our 8th annual Summit in the epicenter of global philanthropy, Palm Beach County, Florida.”

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