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World Leaders in Stem Cell Research Attend Inaugural Cedars-Sinai Symposium

(left to right) Eduardo Marbán, M.D., Ph.D., James Thomson, V.M.D., Ph.D., Clive Svendsen, Ph.D., and Sir Ian Wilmut, Ph.D.

Leading-edge stem cell research and treatments for heart and brain diseases took center stage at the first Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Scientific Symposium.

The June 14 event, led by Cedars-Sinai’s Clive Svendsen, Ph.D., and Eduardo Marbán, M.D., Ph.D., drew more than 200 physicians and scientists from around the world.

Dr. Svendsen, director of the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute, is working on the first stem cell clinical trial for ALS patients in which doctors will inject stem cells into patients’ spinal cords that are modified to produce powerful drugs. Dr. Marbán, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, is leading a groundbreaking clinical trial in which a patient’s own heart tissue is used to grow specialized heart stem cells. The stem cells are then injected back into the patient’s heart in an effort to repair and re-grow healthy muscle in a heart that has been injured by a heart attack.

Guest faculty included some of today’s most prominent stem cell scientists:

  • Sir Ian Wilmut, Ph.D., director of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, England. He is best known as the leader of the research group that in 1996 first cloned a mammal from an adult somatic cell, a lamb named Dolly.
  • James Thomson, V.M.D., Ph.D., director of regenerative biology, Morgridge Institute for Research, University of Wisconsin. He is widely credited with discovering human embryonic stem cells in the 1990s.
  • Oliver Brustle, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Reconstructive Biology, University of Bonn. He was one of the first scientists in the world to successfully transplant stem cells into the brains of mice.
  • Fred Gage, Ph.D., Salk Institute, La Jolla, Calif. He was the first scientist to show that human beings are capable of growing new nerve cells throughout life. He also discovered small populations of immature nerve cells found in the adult mammalian brain, a process called neurogenesis.
  • Stefanie Dimmeler, M.D., Ph.D. Institute of Cardiovascular Regeneration, Goethe-University, Frankfurt. She is known for her work in regenerating heart muscle.
  • Christine Mummery, Ph.D., Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands. She is known for transplanting stem cells into the heart.