Your Guide to Awesome Stem Cell Conferences in 2018

The New Year is upon us and that means it’s time to mark your calendars for the 2018 stem cell meeting season. We’ve compiled a list of conferences, meeting and events focused on stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Some of them are purely research focused while others touch on important themes like patient advocacy or translating stem cell therapies into the clinic.

We’ve included short descriptions for each of the meetings and indicated whether they are free or require a registration fee. Be sure to also check out Paul Knoepfler’s Stem Cell Meetings guide for an up-to-date list of stem cell meetings in 2018.


Alliance for Regenerative Medicine: Cell & Gene Therapies State of Industry Briefing (Free to public)

January 8, San Francisco, California

This meeting will highlight the recent advances and outlook for the cell and gene therapy industry in 2018.

Global Genes: Rare in the Square

January 8-10, Union Square in San Francisco, California

This is a unique networking event during the J.P. Morgan annual Healthcare Conference that assembles RARE investors, industry partners, patient community leaders and RARE disease influencers.

World Stem Cell Summit

Jan 22-26, Miami, Florida

Leading translational stem cell meeting fostering collaborations between scientists, clinicians, patients, investors and more.


UCLA Annual Stem Cell Symposium: Technology Innovation for Stem Cell Research and Therapy

February 2, Los Angeles, California

The UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center’s Annual Stem Cell Symposiums feature leading national and international scientists who are experts in the field of stem cell science and regenerative medicine.

Keystone Symposia: Emerging Cellular Therapies: T Cells and Beyond

February 11-15, Keystone, Colorado

Research focused meeting featuring scientists from academia and industry.

Stanford Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine Symposium (Free to public)

February 27, Palo Alto, California 

This scientific conference will bring together clinicians, basic scientists, patient advocates, translational investigators and experts from the biotech/pharmaceutical field to discuss the process of how discoveries in gene and cell therapy are translated to clinical trials and ultimately commercialized.


4th Annual UCSD Division of Regenerative Medicine Symposium

March 09, La Jolla, California
Free to the Public

This full day public symposium is a great way to learn about the latest advances in stem cell research.

Alliance for Regenerative Medicine: Advanced Therapies Summit

March 14, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This meeting brings together top executives and clinical researchers from Europe and the US and features roundtable discussions and networking opportunities.

Catapult: Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing Workshop

March 14-15, London

This workshop will focus on next generation manufacturing and will include presentations from a wide range of experienced experts in the commercialisation of cell and gene therapies.

Keystone Symposia: iPSCs, a decade of Progress and Beyond

March 25-29, Olympic Valley, California

This Keystone Symposia will focus on the latest research in the field of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The Keynote address will be by Nobel Laureate Dr. Shinya Yamanaka.


CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Symposium (Free to public)

April 19, University of California Los Angeles, California

Free meeting for the public featuring talks from scientists, clinicians, patient advocates, and partners about how the CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network is making stem cell therapies a reality for patients.

Keystone Symposia: Organs and Tissues on Chips

April 8-12, Big Sky, Montana

Research focused meeting featuring scientists from academia and industry.


Cell Therapy Conference, Manufacturing and Testing of Pluripotent Stem Cells

June 5-6, Los Angeles, California

The 2018 Cell Therapy conference is organized by the International Alliance for Biological Standardization (IABS) in collaboration with CIRM. The conference will identify key unresolved issues that need to be addressed for the manufacture and testing of cell therapies and provide scientific consensus on selected aspects to inform the drafting of future national and international guidance. The meeting will bring together representatives from industry, academia, health services and regulatory bodies.

Stem Cells in Disease Modelling and Drug Discovery

June 17-18, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

The SCDMDD 2018 meeting will be held in Melbourne immediately prior to the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) and will provide a welcome opportunity to focus attention on pharmaceutical applications of stem cell technology.

International Society for Stem Cell Research Annual Conference

June 20-23, Melbourne, Australia

International stem cell research meeting focused on new developments in stem cell science and regenerative medicine.


Cambridge International Stem Cell Symposium

Sept 19-21, Cambridge, UK

The 6th Cambridge International Stem Cell Symposium will bring together biological, clinical and physical stem cell scientists, working across multiple tissues and at different scales, to share data, discuss ideas and address the biggest fundamental and translational questions in stem cell biology.

From Stem Cells to Human Development

September 23-26, Surrey, UK

Research meeting organized by The Company of Biologists focused on human developmental biology.


Global Genes RARE Patient Advocacy Summit

October 3-5, Irvine, California

This meeting focuses on rare diseases and brings together patients, caregivers and advocates to share best practices, foster networking and catalyze powerful collaborations.

Alliance for Regenerative Medicine: Cell & Gene Meeting on the Mesa

October 3-5, La Jolla, California

The Cell & Gene Meeting on the Mesa is a three-day conference bringing together senior executives and top decision-makers in the industry with the scientific community to advance cutting-edge research into cures.

New York Stem Cell Foundation Conference

October 23-24, Rockefeller University, New York

The NYSCF conference focuses on translational stem cell research, demonstrating the potential to advance cures for the major diseases of our time. It is designed for all professionals with an interest in stem cell research, including physicians, researchers, clinical investigators, professors, government and health officials, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.


World Alliance Forum

Date TBD, San Francisco, California

The World Alliance Forum focuses on the commercialization and industrialization of new technologies in healthcare fields such as regenerative medicine, gene therapy, cancer immunotherapy, and digital health.

Till and McCulloch Meeting

November 12-14, Westin Ottawa Hotel, Ontario Canada

Canada’s premier stem cell research conference featuring scientists, clinicians, bioengineers and ethicists, as well as representatives from industry, government, health and NGO sectors from around the world.


Cell Symposia: Translation of Stem Cells to the Clinic, Challenges and Opportunities

December 2-4, Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, California

The goal of this Cell Symposium is to bring clinicians, basic stem cell biologists, and cell manufacting and pharmaceutical stakeholders together to discuss the challenges and opportunities for clinical translation of stem cell research and to help synergize efforts taking place in a variety of systems and at diverse stages in the process.

At World Stem Cell Summit: Why results in trials repairing hearts are so uneven

Just as no two people are the same, neither are the cells in their bone marrow, the most common source of stem cells in clinical trials trying to repair damage after a heart attack. Doris Taylor of the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, which is just a couple hours drive from the site of this year’s World Stem Cell Summit in San Antonio, gave a key note address this morning that offered some good reasons for the variable and often disappointing results in those trials, as well as some ways to improve on those results.

THI's Dr. Doris Taylor

THI’s Dr. Doris Taylor

The cells given in a transplant derived from the patient’s own bone marrow contain just a few percent stem cells and a mix of adult cells, but for both the stem and adult cells the mix is highly variable. Taylor said that in essence we are giving each patient a different drug. She discussed a series of early clinical trials in which cell samples from each patient were banked at the National Heart and Lung and Blood Institute. There they could do genetic and other analysis on the cells and compare that data with how each individual patient faired.

In looking at the few patients in each trial that did better on any one of three measures of improved heart function, they were indeed able to find certain markers that predicted better outcome. In particular they looked at “triple responders,” those who improved in all three measures of heart function. They found there were both certain types of adult cells and certain types of stem cells that seemed to result in improved heart health.

They also found that two of the strongest predictors were gender and age. Women generally develop degenerative diseases of aging like heart disease at an older age than men and since many consider aging to be a failure of our adult stem cells, it would make sense that women have healthier stem cells.

Taylor went on to discuss ways to use this knowledge to improve therapy outcomes. One way would be to select for the more potent cells identified in the NHLBI analysis. She mentioned a couple trials that did show better outcomes using cells derived from heart tissue. One of those is work that CIRM funds at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

Another option is replace the whole heart and she closed with a review of what is probably her best-known work, trying to just that. In rats and pigs, she has taken donor hearts and used soap-like solutions to wash away the living cells so that all that is left behind are the proteins and sugars that make of the matrix between cells. She then repopulates the scaffolds that still have the outlines of the chambers of the heart and the blood vessels that feed them, with cells from the recipient animal. She has achieved partially functional organs but not fully functional ones. She—along with other teams around the world—is working on the remaining hurdles to get a heart suitable for transplant.

Don Gibbons