Newswise — September 21, 2012 – (BRONX, NY) – The promise of stem cells seems limitless. If they can be coaxed into rebuilding organs, repairing damaged spinal cords and restoring ravaged immune systems, these malleable cells would revolutionize medical treatment. But stem cell research is still in its infancy, as scientists seek to better understand the role of these cells in normal human development and disease.
On Friday, September 14, the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University offered the Einstein community and invited guests an opportunity to hear from leading stem cell scientists investigating the dynamic field. The 2012 Einstein Stem Cell Institute Symposium featured speakers from around the globe presenting the latest research on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), cell reprogramming, as well as cancer and hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells.
“This symposium was an important milestone for stem cell research at Einstein and confirms our intent to contribute to advances in stem cell biology,” said the event’s host and organizer, Paul Frenette, M.D., director and chair of Einstein’s Stem Cell Institute and professor of medicine and of cell biology.
“There has been a lot of hype in the past few years about the promise of stem cell research and some concerns that perhaps it was oversold to the public,” said Dr. Frenette. “The symposium’s speakers nicely illustrated the tremendous progress that has been made thus far and showed how outstanding research is helping us to realize the full potential of stem cells.”
The afternoon event included four presentations: • George Q. Daley, M.D., Ph.D., discussed “Lin28 in Stem Cells and Disease.” Dr. Daley is the Samuel E. Lux IV Professor of Hematology/Oncology and director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Boston Children’s Hospital; professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology, of medicine, and of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School; and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
• Kathrin Plath, Ph.D., gave a talk on the “Mechanisms of Reprogramming of Pluripotency.” Dr. Plath is associate professor of biological chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles’s David Geffen School of Medicine.
• Toshio Suda, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cell differentiation at the Graduate School of Medicine, Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, presented “Hematopoietic Stem Cells in Hypoxic Niches.”
• Andreas Trumpp, Ph.D., professor and head of the division of stem cells and cancer, and managing director of the Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine in Heidleberg, Germany, discussed “Circulating Metastasis-initiating Cells in Breast Cancer.”
Dr. Frenette closed the event by thanking the speakers and the 100 attendees in the Ethel and Samuel J. LeFrak Auditorium, as well as additional attendees viewing the proceedings from overflow rooms in Einstein’s Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine/Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion.
“We hope this symposium will foster collaborations between Einstein faculty members and leaders in the field, and embolden our developing program toward new heights of research excellence,” said Dr. Frenette.
Dr. Frenette will continue the stem cell discussion at the New York Stem Cell Foundation’s (NYSTEM) seventh annual Translational Stem Cell Research Conference, on October 10 and 11. Dr. Frenette is chair of the “Cancer and Blood Disease” session, which features Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., of Rockefeller University; Ravi Majeti, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University; and Joanne Kurtzberg, M.D., of Duke University.
Dr. Frenette was also recently elected vice-president of the International Society of Experimental Hematology (ISEH) and will become president of ISEH in 2015.
About Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation’s premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2011-2012 academic year, Einstein is home to 724 M.D. students, 248 Ph.D. students, 117 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 368 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has 2,522 full time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2011, Einstein received nearly $170 million in awards from the NIH. This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Through its extensive affiliation network involving Montefiore, Jacobi Medical Center –Einstein’s founding hospital, and five other hospital systems in the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island and Brooklyn, Einstein runs one of the largest post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering approximately 155 residency programs to more than 2,200 physicians in training. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu and follow us on Twitter @EinsteinMed.