PIRAN, Slovenia/BELGRADE, Serbia, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Hard To Treat Diseases (HTDS.PK) financed the participation of Dr. Ivana Gadjanski in the International Summer School for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine held in Piran, Slovenia (21-29. Aug 2009) where a number of eminent speakers presented their work. Among them were Dr. Stephen Minger from King's College, London; Dr. Smadar Cohen from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; Dr. Thomas Ekstrom from Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; Dr. Zoran Ivanovic from EFS, Bordeaux, France; Dr. Dasa Cziskova from Institute of Neurobiology, Kosice, Slovakia, Dr. Tanja Dominko and Dr. Raymond L. Page from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA, Dr. Darja Marolt from Columbia University, USA. Several main topics were discussed: stem cell sources most suitable for clinical application, ethical issues related to stem cell use, obstacles of stem cell therapy (e.g. teratoma formation), future clinical trials (the most interest evokes the FDA-approved world's first human clinical trial of an embryonic stem cell-based therapy for acute spinal cord injury which will be perfomed by Geron using their human embrionic stem cell-derived oligodendrocytes GRNOPC1. The Investigational New Drug Application is currently on clinical hold by the FDA pending the agency's review of new nonclinical animal study data submitted by the company. More information availaible from http://www.geron.com/patients/clinicaltrials/hESC.aspx). Also more technical issues were discussed, e.g. types of biomaterials used for scaffolds, types of bioreactors for growing cells, protocols for cell isolation from various tissues, ways of inducing pluripotency in somatic stem cells (producing iPS), using umbilical cord blood as a source of stem cells. Very promising are adipose-derived stem cells (APC), where first reports are available on the in vivo bone formation and bone augmentation using APC. This type of stem cells raises the least ethical issues and might hold the highest potential for clinical application. However, the takehome message of the whole symposium was that the major task should be to stimulate endogenous potential for repair rather than to force usage of stem cell therapy per se.
The company intends to provide further updates on a timely basis.
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