World Stem Cell Summit comes to Madison Sept. 21–23

September 10, 2008

An opportunity to meet stem cell experts from around the world, unique networking opportunities and a public day of outreach await those attending the World Stem Cell Summit and related events Sunday–Tuesday, Sept. 21–23.

The entire summit is open to anyone. Registration and fees information are available online. In the past, the event has brought together a vast network of not only scientists and clinicians, but also patients and patient advocacy groups, business leaders, entrepreneurs, students, teachers, journalists, bioethicists, politicians and the public.

Planners expect that a hot summit topic will be the relatively new business of stem cell research — both investments in startup companies with patented discoveries and also how the established pharmaceutical industry is pursuing clinical applications in the field. Related academic and economic discussions will focus on developing the research for drug testing, gene therapy, cell replacement and tissue engineering. Patient-focused sessions will address stem cell advances and challenges as they relate to cardiology, diabetes, blindness, neurological disorders and other diseases.

Also prominent will be discussions on the ethics surrounding embryonic stem cells and the realistic future of the “new” embryonic stem cells. These were the human skin cells reprogrammed by James Thomson of UW–Madison and Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University to act just like the embryonic kind without the need to destroy the embryo.

Keynote speakers include Gov. Jim Doyle, Thomson and Alta Charo from UW–Madison, and Peter Kiernan of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

The meeting will feature a poster competition, awards dinner, distribution of the 2008 Stem Cell Report, and a special summit opener: a free public day of science outreach on Sept. 21 at the Pyle Center titled Lab on the Lake.

Interested faculty, staff, postdoctoral trainees and students should contact Sue Gilbert at 265-8668 or sggilber@wisc.edu for information on special summit discounts.