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Global Stem Cell Forum in China Showcases Cutting Edge Research, Focuses on New Findings for iPS Cells

TAIZHOU, Jiangsu, China, July 25 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Over 300 of China's top stem cell biologists and researchers from around the globe shared their latest results and held China's first ever symposium on advanced induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research during the just concluded first annual 2008 China Stem Cell Technology Forum at the China Medical City complex in Taizhou, China. At the Forum, which was chaired by Dr. Sean Hu, Chairman of Beike Biotechnology Co., Ltd., ( ) some of the world's most respected researchers presented their latest laboratory findings and clinical trial results in using stem cells to treat common ailments like heart disease and nervous system diseases such as cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, and optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH). Biologists attending the Mandarin Chinese language Forum came from leading research centers in nearly all of China's major cities, and as far away as the United States, Canada, India, Australia, and Malaysia.

A special symposium entitled Advanced iPS Cell Technology, convened as part of the Forum, brought together for the first time over a dozen scientists involved in cutting edge stem cell research at some of America and China's most respected science universities and research labs. A potential substitute for embryonic stem cells, genetically programmable iPS cells are widely believed to be at the very forefront of the field's most exciting research frontier as iPS cells theoretically could deliver the greatest therapeutic benefit. Since iPS cells can be produced from the building blocks in any individual's own body, they bring the potential that people may someday be able to heal a range of sicknesses from tissue cells they have banked themselves. At the symposium, renowned stem cell scientists like Dr. Hu Jifan of the Palo Alto VA Health Care System under the Stanford University Medical School, Dr. Xiang Peng of Sun Yat Sen University, Dr. Zhang Yaou of Tsing Hua University, Dr. Kong Hsiang-Fu of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dr. Zhou Xiangjun of Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Dr. Yong-Jian Geng of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the Texas Heart Institute, discussed their own latest advancements since recent breakthroughs at the University of Wisconsin and Kyoto University in Japan. The scientists also discussed mutual cooperation and research oversight opportunities, creation of ethical research guidelines in China, and future iPS cell research directions. At the symposium, a special subgroup of China's leading cardiovascular scientists like Dr. Chen Haozhu of Fudan University, Dr. Wang Shiwen of the Chinese PLA General Hospital, and Dr. Zhang Fumin of Nanjing Medical University conferred on the use of stem cells in heart disease treatment, as well as new research methods and ethical responsibilities in that field.

Dr. Yong-Jian Geng, M.D., Ph.D, Director of the Heart Failure and Stem Cell Research Lab at the Texas Heart Institute and Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, said, "Scientists and clinicians have been doing incredible research on stem cells, and generating many exciting results. I feel confident more breakthroughs will be coming soon. I was very pleased and honored to be invited to participate in this discussion, and I am willing to help Chinese investigators establish guidelines that will, in my opinion, help develop a global standard for the stem cell therapies."

Dr. Hu Jifan, noted senior research scientist at the Palo Alto VA Health Care System under the Stanford University Medical School said, "Leading scientists in China are constantly finding ways to create more effective iPS cells. Through this forum we agreed to help verify each other's work, share experiences, and ensure safe, high-standard research takes place so that we may someday create the conditions for effective clinical treatments and industrial scale production of iPS cells. While no one knows yet when these conditions might be met, this Forum certainly helped speed up the process by bringing together some of the world's best minds working towards these goals."

Presentations at the 2008 China Stem Cell Stem Cell Technology Forum covered a wide range of new biological advancements as Chinese scientists hone in on the global goal of bringing practical stem cell treatments to market. Other topics covered included findings on the most potent combinations of stem cells, effective cell processing methods, the latest clinical trials targeting diseases like heart conditions, muscular dystrophy and optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH), and much more yet to be published stem cell research.

Beike Biotechnology Co., Ltd., a worldwide leader in researching and providing safe and effective stem cell applications for medical treatment, hosted the event along with the China National Center for Biotechnology Development (CNCBD) under China's Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the Jiangsu Provincial Department for Science and Technology, and the Taizhou Government. The 2008 China Stem Cell Stem Cell Technology Forum was attended by MOST officials, the Vice Governor of Jiangsu Province Mr. Zhang Taolin, and Taizhou Mayor Mr. Yao Jianhua.

Dr. Sean Hu, the Chairman of Beike Biotech said, "Chinese science, and indeed global stem cell research, achieved a great deal through this forum. Beike is proud to work with China to bring together so many globally known Mandarin speaking stem cell scientists to better communicate and share resources regarding what may very well become the future of healthcare."

About the China Medical City (CMC)

Jiangsu Province is considered the number one location for China's medical industry based on revenue generated over the past 5 years. The city of Taizhou in Jiangsu is not only the hometown of China's President Hu Jintao, but is considered the fastest growing medical industry location in Jiangsu, with over 35 % annual growth in that time. Established by the Chinese Government in 2005 and consisting of 20-25 square kilometers in the heart of Taizhou City, China Medical City (CMC) is fully supported by China's local and national governments. CMC is emerging as a strong leader in China's efforts to develop a streamlined pharmaceutical and medical materials industry that concentrates all medical services and support in one location. Businesses located in CMC carry out a range of manufacturing and support services including research and development, creation and processing of medical materials, distribution, comprehensive healthcare delivery solutions, and patent filing support.

About Beike Biotechnology Company Limited

Beike is a biotechnology company that was founded in July 2005 with capital from Beijing University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Shenzhen City Hall when it commercialized stem cell technology that had been in research since 1999. The research and clinical work comes from collaborations with leading institutions in China including of Tsinghua University, Beijing University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, No. 3 Army Medical University, Zhongshan Medical University, Guiyang Medical College and Zhengzhou University. Over 250 patients every month are treated with Beike's stem cells in leading hospitals throughout China. Patient experiences from treatments can be found at Stem Cell China News ( ).

SOURCE Beike Biotechnology Company Limited
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