Progress in stem cell research and its translation to medicine is the focus of the International Society for Stem Cell Research annual meeting 20-23 June at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre in Melbourne, Australia. More than 3,000 stem cell scientists, bioethicists, clinicians, and industry professionals from over 50 countries will share and discuss the latest discoveries and technologies within the field, and how they are advancing regenerative medicine.
The ISSCR annual meeting is the world’s largest meeting focused on stem cell research, with lectures, workshops, poster presentations, and a dynamic exhibition floor with nearly 100 exhibitors. Presentations span the breadth of the field, including topics such as cell-based disease modeling, gene editing and gene therapy, neural, cardiac, blood and other developmental systems and their diseases, and potential breakthrough therapies currently being tested in clinical trials, among others.
“The annual meeting showcases exciting developments from basic stem cell biology to the latest in clinical trials,” said ISSCR president Hans Clevers. “Discoveries are moving forward quickly, changing our understanding of disease, and shaping new treatments. The broad impact of this research is being felt throughout society, including in policy and regulatory arenas, in industry, and in healthcare,” he said.
To showcase this science and the meeting, local partners in Melbourne assembled a free public forum, “Stem Cell Research – Now and in the Future,” featuring leading Australian researchers discussing the future of stem cells in medicine. Scheduled for 18 June, 17:00–18:30, the forum will be held at Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne. Organized by the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.
A pre-meeting session on 19 June, Clinical Advances in Stem Cell Research, will examine cellular therapies, ongoing clinical trials, and emerging technologies such as genetic modification and CAR-T cell therapy.
The full meeting schedule of scientific presentations includes seven plenary presentations and 22 concurrent sessions, with 150 talks on a diverse array of topics such as stem cell engineering, the road to the clinic, disease modeling and drug development, the making of tissues and organs, epigenetics, stress, stem cells in organ development and maintenance, and gene and stem cell therapies.
Researchers receiving ISSCR awards at the meeting for outstanding achievement:
- Connie Eaves, BC Cancer Agency, CA will receive the ISSCR Tobias Award Lecture, 20 June;
- Megan Munsie, University of Melbourne, AU will receive the Public Service Award, 20 June;
- Shuibing Chen, Weill Cornell Medical College, US will receive the ISSCR Dr. Susan Lim Award for Outstanding Young Investigator, speaking 22 June;
- Michele De Luca and Graziella Pellegrini, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, IT will receive the ISSCR Award for Innovation, De Luca speaking 22 June; Pellegrini speaking 20 June.
Programming for the media is scheduled for 21 and 22 June, with news conferences at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre Level 2, Room 217, as follows:
Salamanders, Fish, and Flies Advancing Science
21 June, 07:30 – 08:30
Small animals and insects are studied for the valuable, sometimes groundbreaking insights they provide into human biology and disease, often shedding light on potential treatments. This panel will discuss research on model organisms and how they advance biomedicine.
Moderator: Peter Currie, PhD, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, AU
Speakers: Andrea Brand, PhD, FRS, FMedSCI, University of Cambridge, UK
Elly Tanaka, PhD, The Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, AT
Allison Bardin, PhD, Institut Curie, CNRS, FR
Technologies Revolutionizing the Field
21 June, 11:30 – 12:30
This panel will discuss how technology and big data are being used in the lab and clinic today to better understand disease and develop novel treatments that could save lives.
Moderator: Alysson Muotri, PhD, University of California, US
Speakers: Matthias Lutolf, PhD, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, CH
Fred Gage, PhD, Salk Institute, US
Shuibing Chen, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College, US
Next Steps for Cell and Gene Therapies
22 June, 07:30 – 08:30
What is on the horizon for stem cell therapies, and how will future efforts advance our ability to make cell therapies a clinical reality?
Moderator: Michael Laflamme, MD, PhD, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, CA
Speakers: Michele De Luca, MD, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, IT
Katherine High, MD, Spark Therapeutics, US
Peter Coffey, BSc DPhil, University College London, UK
Building Models for Disease and Drug Discovery
22 June, 11:30 – 12:30
Researchers are obtaining patient-specific stem cells and combining them with cutting-edge gene editing technologies to achieve patient-specific disease modeling. This panel will look at how these advances are changing approaches to disease and development of treatments.
Moderator: Ricardo Dolmetsch, PhD, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, US
Speakers: Hynek Wichterle, PhD, Columbia University, US
Andrew Elefanty, MB BS FRACP PhD, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, AU
Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine, US
Media registration is open: http://www.isscr.org/meetings-events/annual-meetings/isscr-annual-meeting-2018/media/media-registration-form; the scientific program for ISSCR 2018 is available here: https://www.eventscribe.com/2018/ISSCR/agenda.asp?BCFO=M&tn=&cpf2=&cus2=&pta=.