Few advances have elicited more excitement in the biomedical research community as well as the public sector than genetic reprogramming. The upcoming Stem Cell Biotechnology Workshop centers on genetic reprogramming. Genetic reprogramming by forced expression of a small set of genes converts somatic cells like skin, liver and heart cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that are only transiently available during the earliest stages of development, but without the use of eggs, embryos or fetal tissues. The significance of genetic reprogramming to biomedical research and regenerative medicine is reflected in the 2012 Nobel Prize in Medline to Drs. John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for their breakthrough discoveries showing that the developmental age of cells can be turned back and that the clock can be turned back by controlled use of genetic reprogramming methods.
A central value of iPS cells lies in their ability to be differentiated at will into specialized cells that are not otherwise accessible, either because they exist only during a brief period of development and are unavailable or because the cells have been lost by trauma or disease. iPS cells derived from patients with Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and many other debilitating diseases are already in use to understand disease progression and to screen for new and more effective drugs. iPS cells have potential use in gene and cell therapies to restore function. Given the power and opportunities, like all other advances in stem cell research, genetic reprogramming raises ethical concerns, including how patient cells are obtained for genetic reprogramming, patient safety, ethical reporting of research findings, and the impact on student education and future choices in establishing a rewarding and sustaining career.
The Stem Cell Biotechnology Workshop will be held September 11-12, 2013 in the Wake Forest Biotech Place Conference Center in the Wake Innovations Quarter on the downtown campus of Wake Forest University. Our featured speaker is Dr. Mahendra Rao, Director of the NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM), a community resource that works to provide the infrastructure to support and accelerate the clinical translation of stem cell-based technologies, and to develop widely available resources to be used as standards in stem cell research. For a variety of patient populations, the Center facilitates generation of iPSCs, as well as the derivation or isolation of other types of stem cells. The Center provides services and information to both the intramural and extramural NIH communities that facilitate the use of stem cell technologies for therapeutic purposes and for screening efforts.
Wake Forest Biotech Place
Wake Forest Innovation Quarter
Workshop Director: Patricia Wilson, Ph.D.
Mahendra Rao, M.D., Ph. D., Chief-Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, Director of the NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine, National Institutes of Health
Patricia G. Wilson, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, Workshop Director, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine
Willard H. Eyestone, MS, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, Reproductive Biology / Biotechnology
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
Charles A. Gersbach, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University
Graca Almeida-Porada, M.D., Ph. D., Professor, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine
Nancy M. P. King, JD, Professor, Department of Social Sciences & Health Policy Wake Forest University Health Sciences
Karen Klein, Associate Director, Office of Research, Wake Forest Health Sciences
Christopher Porada, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine
Mark Furth, Ph. D., Wake Innovations, Product Innovation and Commercialization Services
Ashok Hegde, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy Wake Forest School of Medicine
Richard Weinberg, M. D., Executive Chairman, Institutional Review Board, Wake Forest Health Sciences.
The workshop is sponsored by Wake Forest Innovations, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Wake Forest University Center for Bioethics, Heath, and Society, and Wake Forest University Health Sciences. Other sponsors include Abcam, EMD Millipore, GE Healthcare, Nikon Instruments, Inc., Peprotech, Qiagen Inc, Rainbow Scientific and STEMCELL Technologies.