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Researchers from Israel, Southern California to Present Stem Cell Symposium

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    Researchers from Israel, Southern California to Present Stem Cell Symposium

    Researchers from Israel, Southern California to Present Stem Cell Symposium

    Medical News Keywords
    STEM CELL RESEARCH Contact Information
    Available for logged-in reporters onlyDescription
    Scientists and investors in Israel are international leaders in stem cell research and development. Several top researchers from Israel will join scientists and bioethicists to present a stem cell symposium at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Nov. 16 and 17.

    Newswise — Experts in stem cell research and technology from Israel and Southern California will present a symposium on advances in stem cell biology and therapeutics Nov. 16 and 17 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
    Wednesday’s sessions are devoted to academic topics while Thursday’s program focuses on corporate participation and investment opportunities that seek to translate research findings into new therapies.
    Researchers and investors in Israel are at the forefront of stem cell science, in part because Jewish traditions related to the beginning of life differ from beliefs held by some Christians and others, permitting work with embryonic stem cells that has been the subject of ongoing debate in the United States and elsewhere.
    Three of Israel’s prominent stem cell scientists will open Wednesday’s sessions. Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor, M.D., of Rambam Medical Center at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, will present “The Promise of Human Embryonic Stem Cells,” beginning at 9 a.m. He was among the team that first isolated stem cells from human embryos in 1998. He will be followed by his Technion colleague Lior Gepstein, M.D., Ph.D., who will describe the use of stem cells in the regeneration of heart muscle cells. Gepstein and Itskovitz-Eldor were the first to grow the precursors of heart cells from embryonic stem cells.
    Developmental geneticist Nissim Benvenisty, M.D., Ph.D., of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, credited with making a number of discoveries and innovations in the development and modification of stem cells, will present a session on human embryonic stem cells in medical and genetic research. Benvenisty was one of the symposium’s organizers, along with David Meyer, Ph.D., vice president of Research and Scientific Affairs at Cedars-Sinai.
    Wednesday’s academic sessions also include:
    ? “Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Exploring the Controversy,” presented by Laurie Zoloth, Ph.D., professor of Medical Ethics and Humanities, and of Religion, at Northwestern University in Chicago. Director of Bioethics for Northwestern’s Center for Genetic Medicine, Zoloth is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and is Chair of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Bioethics Advisory Board.
    ? “Funding Stem Cell Research in the United States,” presented by Arlene Chiu, Ph.D., director of Scientific Programs and Review of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). A developmental neurobiologist, Chiu is associate director of the Office of Research Administration of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). CIRM was established in 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, responsible for disbursing funds to California universities and research institutions.
    ? “Adult Stem Cell Transplantation for Treatment of Malignant and Non-malignant Disorders and for Tissue Repair,” presented by Shimon Slavin, M.D., a specialist in internal medicine, immunology/rheumatology, immunology/allergy, and bone marrow transplantation at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem. Slavin conducts extensive research in immune system regulation, bone marrow transplantation, gene therapy, and bone marrow stem cells.
    ? “Stem Cells and Prostate Cancer,” presented by Owen N. Witte, M.D., professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has received awards for his contributions in basic cancer research. Among his research interests are the development of the immune response and growth regulation mechanisms related to leukemias and metastasis of certain cancers to the bone marrow.
    ? “Rarely Pure and Never Simple: Paradigms from the Bone Marrow,” presented by Gay M. Crooks, M.D., a member of the Gene, Immunology and Stem Cell Therapy Research Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and an associate professor of pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. For more than 10 years, Crooks has led a team studying stem cells in bone marrow and cord blood. In the past few years, the researchers have studied the unexpected potential of bone marrow to form the tissues of the pancreas – research that may impact such diseases as diabetes and cystic fibrosis.
    ? “Immune Cells and Adult Stem Cells Interact Synergistically to Renew Brain Cells and Rehabilitate Cognitive Functions in Dementias and Other Neurodegenerative Conditions,” presented by Michal Schwartz, Ph.D., professor of Neuroimmunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Among subjects being studied in Schwartz’s research laboratory are vaccination for glaucoma, peptides to be used in post-traumatic vaccination for spinal cord injury, the mechanism of protective autoimmunity at the immunological, molecular and cellular levels, and the therapeutic approach of protective autoimmunity to neurological disorders.
    ? “The Two Faces of Neural Stem Cells: Cancer Cause or Cancer Cure?” presented by neurosurgeon John S. Yu, M.D. co-director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at Cedars-Sinai’s Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute. Yu leads research of immune and gene therapies as well as bone marrow-derived neural stem cells in the treatment of malignant brain tumors. Yu and his colleagues have isolated “cancer stem cells” from tumors. These stem cells share the multi-potent and self-renewing properties of normal stem cells but instead of producing healthy cells, they propagate cancer cells in their own image.
    ? “Using Gene Therapy to Manipulate the Fate of Stem Cells,” presented by Pedro Lowenstein, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Board of Governors Gene Therapeutics Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai. Internationally recognized for breakthroughs in experimental gene therapeutics, Lowenstein is a member of the education committee of the European Society of Gene Therapy and the Neurological Diseases Gene Therapy Committee of the American Society of Gene Therapy. He also serves in a study section of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke.
    Thursday’s Corporate Sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a keynote address by Alan Colman of ES Cell International titled “Stem Cells: From Bench to Bedside to Bank.” ES Cell International Pte. Ltd. of Singapore and Melbourne, Australia, holds the rights to the embryonic stem cell lines that have been approved for research in the United States. Scientists in this country have access to the cell lines through an arrangement between ES Cell International and the National Institutes of Health.
    Representatives from biotechnology laboratories in Israel will speak on these topics:
    * Neuronal Differentiation from Cultured Embryonic and Adult Stem Cells
    * Immune-based Therapies for Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke
    * Autologous Transplantation of Bone Marrow Stem Cells for Parkinson’s Disease Therapy
    * Restoring Joint Function with Growth Factor Directed Stem Cells
    * Cell Grafts Expressing Ion Channels for the Treatment of Cardiac Arrhythmias & Neurological Disorders
    * From Embryonic Stem Cells to Cell Therapy and Beyond
    * Towards a Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Based Cure for Parkinson’s Disease
    Although the symposium is open to the public, the highly scientific nature of the presentations makes it more suitable for the scientific community and those who may be interested in funding stem cell research.

    Israeli Companies at Forefront of Stem Cell Research

    Thanks for posting Max!

    Here is a notice about the Israeli companies involved. Quite some interesting info if you click on their individual links!!

    November 16-17, 2005 - Stem Cell Science in Israel - "From Bio To Biotech" - Advances in Stem Cell Biology And Therapeutics

    Click here for a PDF brochure

    Participating Israeli companies:
    - BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics
    - GeneGrafts
    - Cell Cure
    - NVR
    - Prochon Biotech
    - Proneuron Biotechnologies
    - StemCell Technologies

    Registration fee: $25 ** Registration deadline is November 9, 2005.


      Judaism green lights genetic disease research

      Judaism green lights genetic disease research

      At Bar-Ilan University, Israel’s Ron Goldstein tackles the treatment of a deadly genetic disease

      By Shoshana Kordova
      (November 15, 2005)
      Disease defeater: Ron Goldstein uses stem cell research to fight debilitating diseases.
      (Photo: Arturo D./Morguefile)

      JERUSALEM — Treatment of a deadly genetic disease is being tackled by Ron Goldstein, a scientist who conducts embryonic stem cell research at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.
      Israel does not place the same limitations on such research as does the United States, which bans federal funding for research involving the creation of new embryonic stem cell lines, and it is this difference that may have helped push Israel into what experts say is the vanguard of stem cell research.
      “The United States is now looking to many laboratories in Israel, to modern innovations both in the science and in the politics dealing with stem cell research,” said Dr. Gerald Fischbach, the dean of the Columbia University faculty of medicine and executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences at Columbia, who was in Israel in September to speak at a biomedical conference at Bar-Ilan. “I think the ethical debate is on a very high level.”
      In the United States, the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform denominations of Judaism have all endorsed the research. Leading Orthodox rabbis in Israel and the United States say embryonic stem cell research is acceptable both because the research can potentially save lives and because traditional Jewish sources consider embryos less than 40 days old to be unformed beings.
      Tractate Niddah of the Talmud refers to an embryo that is a few days old as maya b’alma or “like a sack of water,” said Rabbi Daniel Sperber, president of the Institute for Advanced Torah Studies at Bar-Ilan, where Goldstein is an associate professor. The embryos that supply the stem cells are less than a week old, and are mostly left over from in vitro fertilization. Israeli regulations, based on the 2001 recommendations of a bioethics advisory committee, allow the use of surplus IVF embryos in research if the sperm and egg donors give their informed consent.
      “I am an Orthodox Jew, and according to Orthodox Judaism, there are no ethical problems with working on the cells at all,” said Goldstein who immigrated from the United States about 20 years ago after obtaining his doctorate at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.
      Goldstein and four other Israeli researchers comprise the first group in the world to use human embryonic stem cells to generate peripheral sensory neurons, which break down in familial dysautonomia — a disease that occurs almost exclusively among Jews of Eastern European origin. Familial dysautonomia affects the autonomic and sensory nervous systems, causing health problems including respiratory congestion and lung infections, scoliosis, reduced sensitivity to pain and heart problems. Those who suffer from the disease are also unable to shed tears......


        NVR is specific to SCI and sounds interesting.
        "Prototype implants were developed and are undergoing preliminary animal testing. Our animal models include acute and chronic severe spinal cord injuries in rats, in which a 4 mm spinal cord segment is removed and a chronic paralysis model in dogs."

        Dr. Wise - have you heard of this company and what do you think?