The hundreds of active stem cell clinical trials being run in the US, and indeed around the world, provide ample evidence that our favorite cells are truly multi-talented. There are so many different ways researchers are using them to develop therapies we would be hard-pressed to name them all. However, most fall into five general categories that will be discussed at a free public symposium CIRM is co-hosting in conjunction with the International Society for Stem Cell Research during its annual meeting in San Francisco.
The free public event will run from 6:00 to 7:30 on Tuesday evening June 21 at the Moscone West convention center, room 2009, on the corner of Howard and Fourth streets in San Francisco. After a brief overview, four researchers will describe active clinical trials and how stem cells provide hope for therapies in different diseases. The last half hour will be open for general questions from the audience.
All the details are at a special page on EventBright where you can register to attend. The evening will start with Bruce Conklin of the Gladstone Institutes providing an overview of the many ways to use stem cells, including his own work using them to create laboratory models of heart disease. Then:
- Malin Parmar of Sweden’s Lund University will discuss a Parkinson’s disease trial where stem cells are used to replace vital brain cells destroyed by the disease;
- Donald Kohn of the University of California, Los Angeles, will provide details of two trials that combine stem cells and gene therapy, one for sickle cell anemia and one for severe combined immune deficiency, also called Bubble Baby disease;
- Henry Klassen of University of California, Irvine, will talk about using progenitor stem cells to deliver factors that can protect the photoreceptors in the eyes of patients who have a blinding condition;
- Catriona Jamieson of the University of California, San Diego will describe the bad boy of the stem cell world, the cancer stem cell, and clinical trials she is conducting to attack those cells.
While some of the hundreds of current stem cell clinical trials will not produce the desired impact on their target diseases, they will all make strides toward learning how to optimize the great potential of stem cell therapies.
Right now CIRM is funding 16 different clinical trials in diseases as varied as HIV/AIDS and type 1 diabetes. Over the next 5 years we hope to add another 50 clinical trials to that list. The field of regenerative medicine is advancing. This event is a chance for you to understand the progress, and the challenges, that we face in bringing potentially life-changing, even life-saving therapies to the people who need it the most, the patients.