2010 ISSCR: a remarkable lack of new clinical trials for stem cell therapy announced

isscr 2010 meetingThis past week (June 16-19) in San Francisco, Bedford Research Foundation had a booth at the ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research) 8th annual conference.

We joined over 3,500 scientists, students and advisers attending the meeting from around the world. The conference boasted more than 200 talks, and some eye opening research from scientists such as Fred Gage, Salk Institute and George Daley, Children’s Hospital, Boston.

However, there was a remarkable lack of new clinical trials for stem cell therapy being announced, and no reports about recent discoveries of the importance of Circadian Rhythms in cell development.

And although several talks focused on the importance of “niche environment” to cell differentiation (the process of transforming stem cells into brain cells, skin cells, heart cells, etc.) none focused on the importance of “equivalence groups” in the early stages of development.

“Equivalence groups” are groups of cells that elect to work together to develop a specific tissue (e.g. heart or lung), and are able to communicate about the complex sequence of steps involved. Cells in an “equivalence group” will not opt to move to the next step of development, until the previous step has been completed successfully.

We hope that at the ISSCR 2011 we’ll see more talks featuring studies about how these groups communicate, as well as analysis of the sequences they are programmed to complete.



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