National Center for Regenerative Medicine at CWRU to Host Cleveland Stem Cell Conference, Aug 22-24

CLEVELAND—The National Center for Regenerative Medicine (NCRM) at Case Western Reserve University is proud to present "MSC 2011: Innovations in Cell-Based Regenerative Therapies," a three-day forum to highlight transformative breakthroughs in the area of adult stem cell medicine with a focus on how this research is being applied in patient care settings through innovative clinical trials.

This state-of-the-art symposium takes place Aug. 22- 24 at the Cleveland Marriott downtown at Key Center with the support of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. It is expected to draw over 250 attendees from 17 countries and 92 institutions, including key biotech companies, industrial researchers, business developers, academic researchers and graduate and post-doctoral students. The conference program is listed in its entirety at

MSC stands for mesenchymal stem cell, the multipotent stem cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types. In labs throughout the world, these cells are being researched and applied to develop cures for numerous diseases. They include diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, graft versus host disease, liver cirrhosis, bone repair, cartilage repair and much more. Currently, there are 166 clinical trials listed on where MSCs are being used to treat patients. The field represents one of medicine's boldest new frontiers.

"Regenerative medicine is one of the fastest growing areas of medicine today, accelerating the potential to apply new technologies for the repair, replacement, restoration and regeneration of damaged or diseased cells, tissues and organs," says Stanton Gerson, MD, director of the NCRM at Case Western Reserve and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. "MSC 2011 provides an extraordinary opportunity to gain new insight into the latest science and technologies propelling this field forward."

The MSC 2011 program begins at noon on Aug. 22 with welcoming remarks from Dr. Gerson. The opening keynote speaker is Gregory Bonfiglio, JD, managing partner of Proteus Venture Partners, a California-based venture fund that focuses solely on stem cell and regenerative medicine companies. Bonfiglio will present "Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine: Translating Great Science into a Successful Business," a topic that will aptly set the tone for more than 50 academic and industry speakers.

Other notable sessions include a lunchtime panel discussion on Tuesday, Aug. 23, "FDA Advisory Board in Cell and Gene Therapy," chaired by Robert Deans, PhD, executive vice president of regenerative medicine for Cleveland-based Athersys Inc. Panel members will use their experience approving new clinical trials as part of the FDA to reveal the deliberation that occurs when a new clinical trial is proposed. On Wednesday, Aug. 24, Scott P. Bruder, MD, PhD, chief technology officer and senior vice president of Becton, Dickinson & Co., is expected to unveil a new, clinically relevant MSC-based product at a lunchtime session titled "From Initial Cell Isolation Through Delivery of Validated Stem Cell Products: Weaving Together the Discrete Elements Necessary for Successful Product Development."

Throughout its program, the conference will offer a forum for the exchange and discussion of research, ideas and cutting-edge breakthroughs in translational and regenerative medicine. Presentations by internationally respected speakers and thought leaders will cover a breadth of topics encompassing basic discovery, research model validation, clinical product development and therapeutic application, underscoring the links between academic and commercial labs. The culmination of which will be the results of at least seven clinical trials presented during the three-day program.

Topical areas of focus will include the impact of cell manufacturing on translational research, underlining the many different methods and pitfalls to observe when advancing cellular therapies for clinical application. In-depth discussions will similarly shed light on the use of adult stem cells in skeletal tissue and wound healing, cancer therapy, angiogenesis or blood vessel formation, neurological disease treatment and organ regeneration. The importance of basic research models, drug delivery systems, tissue scaffolds and bioimaging will also be addressed.

Through the plethora of disease areas covered, attendees will gain significant insight into a major hurdle to overcome — understanding how research data may be used to define potency and therapeutic efficacy assays for specific cell preparations.

Aside from thought-provoking lectures, MSC 2011 will also provide a venue for junior investigators and students to present and discuss their research through platform talks during the main program and poster presentations on Monday and Tuesday. The NCRM is a multi-institutional center composed of over 120 investigators primarily from Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic, Athersys, Inc., and Ohio State University. Building on over 30 years of history in adult stem cell research, the Center was created in 2003 with a $19.4 million award from the State of Ohio as a Wright Center of Innovation. Additional awards of $8 million in 2006, $5 million in 2009 and $1 million and $2.1 million in 2010 from the Ohio Third Frontier further validated the Center's ability to achieve its mission to utilize human stem cell and tissue engineering technologies to treat human disease. Since its inception, NCRM affiliated investigators have advanced more than 70 stem cell and regenerative medicine programs into clinical trials, and NCRM partners have attracted more than $300 million in funding.

Founded in 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and is among the nation's top medical schools for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine is recognized throughout the international medical community for outstanding achievements in teaching. The School's innovative and pioneering Western Reserve2 curriculum interweaves four themes--research and scholarship, clinical mastery, leadership, and civic professionalism--to prepare students for the practice of evidence-based medicine in the rapidly changing health care environment of the 21st century. Nine Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the School of Medicine.

Annually, the School of Medicine trains more than 800 MD and MD/PhD students and ranks in the top 25 among U.S. research-oriented medical schools as designated by U.S. News & World Report's "Guide to Graduate Education."

The School of Medicine is affiliated with University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic, with which it established the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in 2002.