Dr. Centeno Blogging from Vatican…
Today was the first day of the Vatican Stem Cell Conference hosted in Vatican City by the Pontifical Council on Science and Culture and the Stem for Life Foundation. The formal conference title is “Regenerative Medicine: A Fundamental Shift in Science and Culture”. I will be speaking tomorrow, in the meantime here were today’s highlights:
-Today started with host Meredith Viera of NBC news introducing the event after greetings from Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
-The clinical focus in the morning was two different methods for treating Multiple Sclerosis with stem cells with Dr. Sadiq of the MS Research Center of New York and Dr. Burt of Northwestern discussing their different approaches. A t-cell approach was also discussed. A patient who had received adult stem cells for her MS presented her moving story.
-Other topics included regulation and the long-term future of where the use of stem cells in medicine is headed. Osiris therapeutics CEO Dr. Mills presented a nice discussion of his point of view of how mesenchymal stem cells likely work through the intelligent release of various healing growth factors and cytokines.
-The day ended with a debate on whether autologous (the patient’s own) or allogeneic (someone else’s) stem cells work better for cardiovascular disease. Bottom line, nobody’s quite sure which approach will ultimately win out as each has it pluses and minuses.
The conference group then took a short walk over to the Vatican Museums for a cocktail reception and a private tour of the museums and the Sistine Chapel.