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2014 Stem Cell Action Awards

3rd Annual Save the Date Banner smFive honorees have been selected for the 2014 Stem Cell Action Awards. For 10 years, the Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) has honored the stem cell community's top innovators, leaders, and champions. Today's announcement in Texas by GPI Executive Director Bernard Siegel to leaders and supporters of San Antonio's biomedical sector renews San Antonio's commitment to the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit at the Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio, Texas, December 3-5. The honorees were formally announced at BioMed SA's annual Julio Palmaz Award Dinner in San Antonio.
This year's Stem Cell Action Award Honorees are a passionate group of innovative scientists, philanthropists and advocates, seeking an end to human suffering by charting the future of this burgeoning field. Previous Stem Cell Action awardees have included Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Michael J. Fox, Brooke Ellison, Robert Klein, Sherry Lansing, Susan Solomon of The New York Stem Cell Foundation, National Association of Biology Teachers, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and philanthropists like A. Alfred Taubman and T. Denny Sanford.

TSCR Logo 300dpiGenetics Policy Institute will honor the stem cell community’s top innovators, leaders, and champions at the Stem Cell Action Awards Dinner at the annual 2014 World Stem Cell Summit. Since 2005, the awards have recognized dedicated individuals and organizations that have made distinguished contributions to the cause of stem cell research, including stem cell advocates, elected officials, philanthropists and scientists. The 2014 Stem Cell Action Award Honorees include Henry Cisneros (Leadership), Japanese Society for Regenerative Medicine (International Leadership), Texans for Stem Cell Research (Education), Mostyn Foundation (Advocacy Awards) and Huntington’s Disease (HD) Community (Inspiration).

Texans for Stem Cell Research will be honored for their education efforts.  The volunteer-led Texans for Stem Cell Research (TSCR) is creating a stronger environment for new research and hope by educating the people of Texas and their policymakers on the promise of stem cell research and therapies so those suffering from chronic diseases or terminal illnesses will enjoy healthier lives. TSCR is an energetic fundraiser of FDA approved clinical trials, raising tens of thousands of dollars and bringing positive attention to stem cell research. They host public events and research symposiums uniting Texas’s world-class scientists and clinical researchers across institutions.

Read about all of the honorees at: SAN ANTONIO, TX, TEXAS, Sept. 18, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

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GPI's “Stem Cell Action Award” Honorees Announced 10th Annual Stem Cell Action Awards to be presented at World Stem Cell Summit #WSCS14, December 3, in San Antonio

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Support for Medical Breakthroughs


Dr. Mark Kline, Dr. James T. Willerson, Dr. Ron DePinho and Rex Tillerson at announcement. (Photo Credit: Texas Heart Institute)

Exxon Mobil Corp awarded $18 million in grants to Houston health care facilities.

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center will receive $10 million, the Texas Heart Institute will get $5 million, and $3 million will go to Texas Children’s Hospital.

Read Full Story: Exxon Mobil donates $18M to major Houston health care institutions
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Heart to Heart from Dr. James. T. Willerson

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Life sciences destination of the world


The Texas Medical Center is the largest life sciences destination in the world. With 106,000 employees, 54 institutions, and thousands of volunteers and patient visits, over 160,000 people visit Texas Medical Center each day…

Learn More about the Texas Medical Center

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Stem Cell Awareness Day 2014 | October 8, 2014

globe-in-hands-bEvery family knows they are one phone call or one diagnosis away from needing what stem cell research can yield for us.

- Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Representatives

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 marks Stem Cell Awareness Day, which brings together organizations and individuals around the world working to ensure that we realize the benefits of one of the most promising fields of science in our time. The day is a unique global opportunity to foster greater understanding about stem cell research and the range of potential applications for disease and injury.

For the millions of people around the world who suffer from incurable diseases and injury, Stem Cell Awareness Day is a day to celebrate the scientific advances made to-date and be hopeful of what is yet to come.

Research and academic institutions and educators are encouraged to participate by hosting public talks and other activities and events in their community.  In particular, we encourage efforts to get stem cell researchers into high school classrooms that day.

Follow events on twitter: #stemcellday


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Heart grown from stem cells

Heart Doris TaylorVideo: This is how a living, beating heart is grown from stem cells

From science fiction to a real-life breakthrough, what's happening right now in a Houston medical lab will change thousands of lives forever. Researchers are building new organs — hearts and kidneys — they hope will eventually be viable for transplants. Read More and Watch News Story  Doctor, team build transplantable hearts

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Doctor, team build transplantable hearts

Heart Doris TaylorFeb. 19, 2014: From science fiction to real-life breakthrough, what's happening right now in a Houston medical lab will change thousands of lives forever. Dominique Sachse reports.

via Doctor, team build transplantable hearts.



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Immunotherapy-based Treatment for Childhood Cancer


Grants Support Baylor Researchers’ Immunotherapy-based Treatment for Childhood Cancer

Two Baylor College of Medicine researchers, Dr. William Decker and Dr. Cliona Rooney, have received grants from the nonprofit organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to advance their immunotherapy-based treatment approaches for childhood cancer from the bench to bedside.

Decker, assistant professor of immunology at Baylor, and Rooney, professor in the Center for Cell and Therapy at Baylor, Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Methodist, are two of a dozen researchers from all over the country that will earn the foundation’s new Reach Awards, which are designed to overcome barriers that impede the translation of innovative pediatric oncology research ideas from the lab to the clinic. The Reach Awards provide $250,000 over two years.

Decker’s research focuses on the development of a new immunotherapeutic treatment approach for a type of brain cancer called Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor. Patients with this aggressive tumor have a poor survival rate, and current treatments can lead to significant neurocognitive side effects.

Decker considers there is “a clear medical need? for the development of more effective and less toxic treatments for this type of cancer and other pediatric brain tumors. “Treatments should be able to both effectively fight cancer while sparing neurocognitive function,? he said.

His team proposes using an immunotherapy approach that they have shown to be safe and potentially effective in brain cancer lab models. The treatment uses the patient’s own blood cells and own tumor cells to generate a powerful vaccine that can attack the tumor while sparing normal tissue. Funding this project, Decker said, will enable his research group to generate the necessary data to allow a clinical trial to proceed.

Rooney’s research also involves an immunotherapy-based approach. The goal is to develop potent immune-based therapies for high-risk neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that begins in childhood. Special immune system T-cells that have been modified to home in on a protein found on neuroblastoma cells can potentially eliminate tumors without causing toxic side effects or long lasting disability. These modified T-cells have successfully eliminated small tumors, but the challenge remains, as eradication of large tumors or tumors that have spread throughout the body still hasn’t been sorted out.

To overcome the limitations associated with current immunotherapy-based approaches, Rooney, also a professor of pediatric hematology/oncology at Baylor and Texas Children’s Cancer Center, has developed a new approach in which she modifies T-cells with a form of vaccinia virus that attacks tumors such as neuroblastoma. The vaccine strain of vaccinia virus can be used both to kill tumor cells and to boost the function and numbers of the gene-modified vaccinia-specific T-cells. This cutting edge strategy should facilitate the treatment of bulky tumors and prolong the duration of T-cell activity after administration. The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Reach Award will allow Rooney and her colleagues to conduct studies in murine models of neuroblastoma to prepare for a trial in children with relapsed, high-risk neuroblastoma.

“We know firsthand how important these research trials are to bettering the lives of childhood cancer patients, and we are dedicated to bringing promising research from the lab to the clinic,? said Jay Scott, co-executive director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which was founded after his daughter, Alex, herself a cancer patient, who held a lemonade stand to raise money for a cure for cancer.

Source: BioNews Texas

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Power of Hope

Bernie was a courtroom attorney, and a cancer and Hurricane Andrew survivor. For fun, he owned a minor league basketball team and became commissioner of a pro-wrestling federation. A decade ago, he ignited a media firestorm when seeking a guardian for the alleged clone, “Baby Eve.” 18 months later, he found himself at the United Nations addressing the promise of stem cell research as a global leader of the advocacy community.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Watch Bernard Siegel at TEDxDelrayBeach “Stem cells and the transformative power of hope

Bernard Siegel

Bernard Siegel is the founder and Executive Director of , a nonprofit organization with offices in Palm Beach, Florida and Palo Alto, California. He is the founder and co-chair of a series of global conferences, including the annual World Stem Cell Summit and founder and editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed World Stem Cell Report.

Mr. Siegel first became involved with the scientific community when, in 2002, he filed a landmark case seeking a guardian for the alleged clone, “Baby Eve.” The case was widely credited for exposing Clonaid, the so-called “human cloning company” as a sham. This case, and the media attention which ensued, allowed Mr. Siegel to meet with scientists and policy experts to discuss the need for legal and policy advocates for the scientific community. This led to Mr. Siegel's founding of the Genetics Policy Institute and his commitment to advocacy work on behalf of patients, doctors and researchers involved with the regenerative medicine community

In 2003, he traded his 30-year courtroom career to found GPI and Stem Cell Action Coalition, which leads a global “Pro-Cures Movement.” With the leadership of world-class advisory boards, GPI has filed briefs in federal litigation pertaining to stem cell funding and organized key meetings aimed at uniting the global stem cell community. In 2004, Mr. Siegel played a pivotal role in galvanizing a global movement that successfully lobbied the United Nations to reject a treaty that called for a prohibition of nuclear transfer, or therapeutic cloning.

As a recognized policy expert on stem cell research, regenerative medicine and cloning, Mr. Siegel works with the world's leading stem cell researchers and advocates. He works with grassroots activists throughout the United States, raising public awareness and educating lawmakers, the media and public on stem cells and regenerative medicine.

Mr. Siegel is a frequent panelist and keynote speaker on the subject of stem cells, public policy, patient advocacy and the societal implications of longevity. Among his many presentations, he has spoken at the United Nations, the Salk Institute, the German National Academy of Science (The Leopoldina), James Baker Institute of Public Policy at Rice University, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, Seoul National University, International Stem Cell Forum (Beijing), World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research (Rome), Stem Cells Europe (Edinburgh, Amsterdam), World Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress (London), World Congress on Regenerative Medicine (Leipzig), ILSI BioMed (Tel Aviv), World Parkinson Congress, Association of American Law Schools and American College of Trial Lawyers. He has lectured at more than 40 colleges and universities around the globe.

Mr. Siegel frequently works with the media as a policy expert. His TV appearances include interviews with CBS Evening News, the CBS Early Show, CNN, CNN International, MSNBC, Fox and Friends, CNBC and network news shows throughout the U.S. and the world. He was profiled on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. His interviews appear in the journals Rejuvenation Research, Cell Stem Cell, Regenerative Medicine and Pharmaceutical Technology Europe. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Wired News, The Scientist, New Scientist, The London Times, Le Monde, Pravda, The Peoples Daily and many other publications.

Mr. Siegel serves on the board of directors of the Coalition for Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) and Americans for Cures Foundation. He also serves on the executive committee of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) and chaired that group's nominating committee. He is a past co-chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR).

At the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Mr. Siegel serves on the Governance Advisory Board of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute and as a member the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO) Committee.

He serves on the advisory boards of the New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center at Boston Medical Center and Sabrina Cohen Foundation for Stem Cell Research. He is a member of the American Society for Bioethics + Humanities and the International Society for Cell Therapy. In addition, Mr. Siegel serves as a member of the Editorial Board of the award-winning, Medline-indexed journal, Regenerative Medicine.

He has published articles for the journals Cloning and Stem Cells, Burrill Stem Cell Report and the World Stem Cell Report. His Opinion Editorials have appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Tallahassee Democrat, Detroit News and Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

His honors include the 2005 Advocacy Award from the Stem Cell Action Network. Mr. Siegel was voted one of the “dLife Top 10″ individuals who made the greatest contribution to the lives of people with diabetes in 2006. In 2009, the City of Palm Springs, California; Miami-Dade County, Florida; and Baltimore, Maryland issued public proclamations applauding Bernard Siegel's efforts on behalf of the global stem cell community. Mr. Siegel was ranked number 22 in the 2013 ranking of the “Top 50 Global Stem Cell Influencers.”

A native of Richmond, Virginia, he received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Miami (BA 1972, JD 1975). He is a member of the Florida Bar, since 1975.

The Genetics Policy Institute
Palm Beach Executive Center

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NIH names UTHealth Regional Stroke Center

Sean Savtiz

Sean I. Savitz, M.D. Professor of Neurology, Frank M. Yatsu, M.D. Chair in Neurology, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston.

NIH names UTHealth as one of 25 regional stroke centers

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has been named one of 25 regional stroke centers by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the only one in Texas.

“That UTHealth is the only center with this designation in the state and region, speaks to our track record of delivering the highest quality care and our long-standing tradition of being one of the best stroke centers in the nation,” said Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D., president of UTHealth.

The network of 25 regional stroke centers working with nearby satellite facilities will span the country, have teams of researchers representing every medical specialty needed for stroke care and will address the three prongs of stroke research: prevention, treatment and recovery.

The UTHealth center's principal investigator is Sean I. Savitz, M.D., the Frank M. Yatsu, M.D., Chair in Neurology. Satellites include The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Tulane University School of Medicine with a plan to conduct stroke research throughout the Gulf area. More sites from throughout the southern regions of the country are expected to join.

“The new system is intended to streamline stroke research by centralizing approval and review, lessening time and costs of clinical trials, and assembling a comprehensive data sharing system,” said Petra Kaufmann, M.D., the associate director for clinical research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

NINDS, which will fund and manage the NIH Stroke Trials Network, or NIH StrokeNet, has a strong history of successful stroke clinical trials over the past 40 years, leading to some astonishing advances in treatment and prevention of the disease, including the first treatment for acute stroke, announced in 1995.

The 25 centers are strategically placed in every region of the country. Successful applicants demonstrated experience in stroke research and recruitment, including the ability to enroll underrepresented populations, and were required to offer access to the full cadre of specialties that are involved in stroke care. These include emergency medicine, neurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, vascular neurology, neurointensive care, neuroimaging, stroke rehabilitation and pediatric neurology.

UTHealth and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center were among the original six sites that tested the only known treatment for stroke: tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Researchers at UTHealth are currently testing add-on medications to tPA, ultrasound combined with tPA, cooling of the brain and a clot-buster based on vampire bat saliva. They are one of the first centers in the country to test stem cell therapies.

Each center will receive five years of funding, with $200,000 in research costs and $50,000 for training stroke clinical researchers per year over the first three years, and additional funds driven by the completion of milestones. The University of Cincinnati will manage the national clinical coordinating center, which will oversee and coordinate the institutional review board and master trial agreements for all of the regional centers. NIH will announce the award of a national data management center in February.

NIH StrokeNet investigators, working with the broader stroke community, will propose, develop and conduct stroke protocols to be administered within the network and train the future generation of clinical researchers in stroke.

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Texas Hosts World Summit

TexasCures_StemCellResearchSan Antonio to Host 2014 World Stem Cell Summit

International Regenerative Medicine Community to Convene for 10th Anniversary Summit in Texas, December 3–5, 2014.

SAN ANTONIO, TX (Meltwater) September 18, 2013 — Genetics Policy Institute (GPI), the producer of the annual World Stem Cell Summit, is announcing today at BioMed SA's 8th Annual Julio Palmaz Award Dinner that the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit is scheduled for December 3-5, 2014 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas.

The World Stem Cell Summit is the largest interdisciplinary stem cell meeting, featuring more than 170 prominent scientists, business leaders, regulators, policy-makers, economic development officers, patient advocates and experts in law and ethics, presenting the latest scientific discoveries, business models, legal and regulatory solutions and best practices. The event is expected to attract more than 1,500 attendees from 40 nations.

Among the regional institutions supporting the Summit along with the City of San Antonio are BioMed SA, the Texas Research and Technology Foundation, the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and its Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, the University of Texas at San Antonio and BioBridge Global.

GPI Executive Director Bernard Siegel, founder and co-chair of the Summit said, “We are proud to select San Antonio as the location for the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit. San Antonio is a recognized global leader in the healthcare and bioscience industries. Prominent local associations and institutions have expressed their support of the international regenerative medicine community's foremost event. Additionally, Summit attendees will enjoy the hospitality of one of the premier convention destinations in the U.S. We are delighted to celebrate the 10th Anniversary Summit in San Antonio.”

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro said, “In San Antonio, we are continually looking for ways to grow and promote our number one industry: Healthcare and Bioscience. The sector creates an annual economic impact of more than $29 billion with a workforce of 156,000. San Antonio recognizes regenerative medicine as an emerging growth segment of this industry, and we are truly honored to be named host of this prestigious conference.”

City Manager Sheryl Sculley said, “This announcement recognizes San Antonio as a leading center of bioscience research, including the emerging field of regenerative medicine. This Summit attracts some of the best and brightest healthcare professionals in the world, and we intend to leverage this event in partnership with the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation to continue growing our targeted Healthcare and Bioscience Industry.

Ann Stevens, president of BioMed SA, said, “BioMed SA is the region's biomedical cluster organization dedicated to accelerate sector growth and contribute to the health of people worldwide by establishing San Antonio as a healthcare and bioscience leader. The World Stem Cell Summit provides San Antonio institutions and companies the opportunity to forge collaborations around the globe and expand the awareness of San Antonio's unique biomedical assets.”

Colonel Michael A. Weber, Commander of the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research based at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Texas stated, “Bringing the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit to San Antonio will help foster the scientific exchange of ideas and knowledge related to regenerative medicine and military needs for helping our wounded warriors and is well aligned with the mission of this institute. One of the interests of the Institute of Surgical Research is the development of regenerative technologies to improve outcomes of our military combat casualties and research into stem cell technologies is one of the key aspects of our institute.”

Bernard Siegel of GPI added, “Our purpose is to bring the global stem cell community together. Texas research institutions are hugely invested in stem cell research and regenerative medicine. That commitment will pay lasting dividends for the state in the form of new companies setting up businesses, jobs and, most importantly, the translation of scientific innovation into cures.”

ABOUT GPI: The Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) supports stem cell research to develop therapeutics and cures. GPI pursues its mission by producing the World Stem Cell Summit, honoring community leaders through the Stem Cell Action Awards, publishing the World Stem Cell Report, organizing educational initiatives and fostering strategic collaborations. For more information about GPI, visit www.genpol.org .

ABOUT THE WORLD STEM CELL SUMMIT: The World Stem Cell Summit is the flagship meeting of the international stem cell community. The goal of the Summit is to accelerate the discovery and development of lifesaving cures and therapies, bringing global stakeholders together to solve global challenges. The Summit builds a foundation to advance cell therapies by establishing a supportive environment of regulation, legislation, financing, reimbursement and patient advocacy.

The 2013 World Stem Cell Summit will be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, in San Diego, California, December 4-6, 2013. It is presented by GPI and is co-organized by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Scripps Research Institute, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and Kyoto University Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS).

Press Release Source:

For information about sponsoring or attending the World Stem Cell Summit, contact Alan Fernandez at (650) 847-1640 or email Alan@genpol.org .

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World Stem Cell Awareness Day 2013

globe-in-hands-bWednesday, October 2, 2013 marks Stem Cell Awareness Day, which brings together organizations and individuals around the world working to ensure that we realize the benefits of one of the most promising fields of science in our time. The day is a unique global opportunity to foster greater understanding about stem cell research and the range of potential applications for disease and injury.

For the millions of people around the world who suffer from incurable diseases and injury, Stem Cell Awareness Day is a day to celebrate the scientific advances made to-date and be hopeful of what is yet to come.

Research and academic institutions and educators are encouraged to participate by hosting public talks and other activities and events in their community.  In particular, we encourage efforts to get stem cell researchers into high school classrooms that day.



Get Involved!

Follow events on twitter: #stemcellday

Events around the globe

Raising Stem Cell Awareness, SDSU celebrates Stem Cell Awareness Day with a free public symposium.

UC Berkeley SSSCR 1st Annual Stem Cell Conference: “Culturing A Stem Cell Community”


Texas Commits to Cell and Organ Biotechnology

CCOB-THI_3980-stage-5x7HOUSTON – Gov. Rick Perry today announced a $3 million investment through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) to create the Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology in collaboration with the Texas Heart Institute (THI) and Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

“This center represents another step toward making Texas the forefront of biotechnology for generations to come,” Gov. Perry said. “The investment is all a part of the culture of creation we've nurtured in Texas, built upon the concept that if you give bright and visionary people the freedom to innovate and pursue their dreams, good things will happen. I could not be prouder that this life-affirming research will be conducted here in our state, and I can't wait to see it put into action.”

The College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences is home to the Michael E. DeBakey Institute for Cardiovascular Sciences. The institute is known as a leader in biomedical research programs in vascular studies and cardiovascular devices, making it a natural fit for the partnership.

In the U.S. alone, one in three individuals suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease and more than one million die from end-stage organ failure each year. The new center will take a multi-faceted approach to chronic disease for both human and veterinary health care, based on cell and organ failure. It will be led by Dr. Doris Taylor, director of Regenerative Medicine Research at THI and will include scientists, engineers, physicians, veterinarians and business managers from both THI and the University.

“Dr. Taylor is certainly one of the stars in the adult human stem cell field, and we feel extremely fortunate to have her at the Texas Heart Institute,” said Dr. James T. Willerson, president and medical director at THI. “With the work already underway at Texas A&M, Dr. Taylor will be able to draw from expertise at both institutions to position the Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology as a world leader in adult stem cell research, organ transplantation, and personalized medicine.”

“We are grateful to Governor Rick Perry and the State of Texas for the vision to create the TETF, which is rightfully the envy of many,” said Dr. Eleanor Green, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “It was clear from the beginning that this partnership between two highly regarded institutions and the State of Texas was special. We know that the health of animals and people is inextricably linked and this unique center will advance both human and animal health. Texas A&M veterinary students, medical students, undergraduate students, graduate students in biomedical sciences and other students from the Texas Medical Center and beyond will benefit from participating in the use of advanced stem cell technologies to advance the research of cardiovascular science, personalized medicine, organ replacement, regeneration and repair, and more. There are many others to thank for their support, including Chancellor John Sharp and President Bowen Loftin.”

Gov. Perry is committed to enhancing the quality of the Texas higher education system and enhancing its research potential through the TETF by attracting world class researchers to institutions in the state. This provides a dynamic environment for graduate and doctorate students, while building a culture of commercialization for research projects.

The TETF is a $200 million initiative created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 at the governor's request, and reauthorized in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. A 17-member advisory committee of high-tech leaders, entrepreneurs and research experts reviews potential projects and recommends funding allocations to the governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House. To date, the TETF has allocated more than $203 million in funds to 142 early stage companies, and over $216 million in grant matching and research superiority funds to Texas universities. Additionally, since the inception of the TETF, more than $1.67 billion in additional investment from other non-state sources has followed on to the TETF investment, more than quadrupling the amount invested by the TETF.

For more information on the TETF, please visit http://www.emergingtechfund.com.


Related News:

THI Newsroom

Gov. Perry Announces $3 Million Grant to Create Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology (Video)

Texas Heart Institute Partners with A&M Vet School On Stem Cell Therapies (Radio Interview)

Texas Heart Institute, Texas A&M team up for biotech

Center’s goal is to grow hearts




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How to build a heart

With thousands of people in need of heart transplants, researchers are trying to grow new organs.

Doris Taylor doesn't take it as an insult when people call her Dr Frankenstein. “It was actually one of the bigger compliments I've gotten,? she says — an affirmation that her research is pushing the boundaries of the possible. Given the nature of her work as director of regenerative medicine research at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, Taylor has to admit that the comparison is apt. She regularly harvests organs such as hearts and lungs from the newly dead, re-engineers them starting from the cells and attempts to bring them back to life in the hope that they might beat or breathe again in the living.

Taylor is in the vanguard of researchers looking to engineer entire new organs, to enable transplants without the risk of rejection by the recipient's immune system. The strategy is simple enough in principle.

In practice, however, the process is beset with tremendous challenges.

Taylor, who led some of the first successful experiments to build rat hearts1, is optimistic about this ultimate challenge in tissue engineering. “I think it's eminently doable,? she says, quickly adding, “I don't think it's simple.? Some colleagues are less optimistic. Paolo Macchiarini, a thoracic surgeon and scientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who has transplanted bioengineered tracheas into several patients, says that although tissue engineering could become routine for replacing tubular structures such as windpipes, arteries and oesophagi, he is “not confident that this will happen with more complex organs?.

Taylor suspects that partial approaches could aid patients with severe heart defects such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, in which half the heart is severely underdeveloped. Restoring the other half, “essentially forces you to build the majority of the things you need?, she says.

And these efforts could hold lessons for the development of cell therapies delivered to the heart. Researchers are learning, for example, how heart cells develop and function in three dimensions. In the future, partial scaffolds, either synthetic or from cadavers, could allow new cells to populate damaged areas of hearts and repair them like patches.

The jars of ghostly floating organs might seem like a gruesome echo of the Frankenstein story, but Taylor says her work is a labour of love.    Read Full Article By Brandan Maher


Tissue Engineering: How to Build a Heart
Nature | News Feature
Brendan Maher
03 July 2013
Online Story


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Saving lives with help from pigs and cells
Doris Taylor and her team are building new organs, hoping to reverse disease, maybe even the aging process
By Maggie Galehouse | January 23, 2013

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Coronado_Save_the_Date 300





September 19-20, 2013
San Diego, California
Cell Society 3rd Annual Clinical Meeting

Program Details coming soon…

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Dr. William Danforth (left), Dr. James T. Willerson (center), Dr. Doug L. Mann (right) [Photo Courtesy: Maryann Manion Photography

Renowned Cardiologist, Dr. James T. Willerson Spotlights New Stem Cell Research To Repair Severe Heart Damage During  St. Louis Visit.


Dr. Willerson discussed findings from a recently released study that could pave the way for new stem cell therapies to treat patients with severe heart failure on May 24 event in St. Louis that was sponsored by Missouri Cures Education Foundation.

Dr. Willerson, president and medical director of Texas Heart Institute, led a research team that found a patients’ own bone marrow stem cells can potentially be used to repair the heart and restore healthy blood flow after severe heart failure. The findings are from a multi-center clinical study — the largest such investigation to date of bone marrow-derived stem cells ever done in patients with severe heart failure. The findings were presented in March at the annual session of the American College of Cardiology in Chicago.


Watch the Full Presentation by Dr. Willerson


Researchers hope that continuing favorable trial results will pave the way for new clinical trials and, ultimately, new therapies that could help patients with heart failure. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

About 5.8 million people in the United States have heart failure, according to the NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

Dr. Willerson is the Edward Randall III Professor of Internal Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. He also is the former chairman of the National American Heart Association Research Committee and a former board member.

“I believe we were meant to learn of the powerful potential of stem cells and build on it,? Dr. Willerson said. “Ultimately, stem cell research could give us the ability to regenerate whole hearts.?

The May 24 presentation was open to the public and  held at The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri.


“We are delighted that Dr. Willerson is able to come to St. Louis and share his exciting research, which has the potential to help millions of patients who have heart failure,? said Dena Ladd, executive director of Missouri Cures Education Foundation.

Dr. Doug Mann, Lewin Chair and Chief, Cardiovascular Division of Washington University School of Medicine, introduced Dr. Willerson.

Event sponsors were: Dr. William Danforth; James and Elizabeth McDonnell; Ambassador Sam and Marilyn Fox; John and Anne McDonnell; and The Staenberg Family Foundation in conjunction with THF Realty.

Host committee members were: Dan and Connie Burkhardt; Lynn and Kathy Chipp erfield; Michael and Leslie Christ; Drs. Sessions and Pat Cole; Rabbis ; Michael and Leslie Christ; Drs. Sessions and Pat Cole; Rabbis James Goodman and Susan Talve; Dr. WilliamJoffe and Liz Heller; Drs. Doug Mann and Laura Colletti; Bob and Colleen Millstone; B ruce and Kim Olson; Doug and Kathy Pope; Joe and Annie Schlafly; Tom and Mary Stillman; Ambassador Bert and Carol Walker; Stephen and Dr. Carolynn Wolff.

Proceeds from the event benefitted the nonprofit Missouri Cures Education Foundation and its efforts to educate Missourians about the importance of medical research, including stem cell research.

Debbie Davis at (314) 993-1900 or email DDavis@MissouriCures.org Checks may be mailed to: Missouri Cures Education Foundation, P.O. Box 16580, St. Louis, MO 63105.

Watch the Full Presentation by  Dr. Willerson
[Photos Courtesy: Maryann Manion Photography]

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Texas Stem Cell Research

October 19th, 2012 in Austin, Texas… Official Program Details & Registration

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Supporting lifesaving medical research efforts in Texas.

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Texan Recognized

DALLAS – April 2, 2012 – Dr. Eric N. Olson, chairman of molecular biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, is the winner of the 2012 Steven C. Beering Award for outstanding advancements in biomedical or clinical science.

Dr. Eric N. Olson, UTSW Dallas

Dr. Olson is known for his work at the interface of developmental biology and medicine that identified major genetic pathways controlling the formation of the heart and other muscles. Several drugs based on his research are currently under study.

The award is given annually by the Indiana University School of Medicine.

At UT Southwestern, Dr. Olson directs the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Center for Basic Research in Cancer and the Nearburg Family Center for Basic and Clinical Research in Pediatric Oncology.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, Dr. Olson will present a lecture to medical students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and medical residents on the Indianapolis campus Oct. 16, followed by the Beering Award lecture on Oct. 17. The award includes a medal and a $25,000 prize.

Several Beering awardees have gone on to win the Nobel Prize. 1990 Beering winner Dr. Alfred G. Gilman, UT Southwestern professor emeritus of pharmacology and chief scientific officer for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, was awarded a Nobel in 1994.

The Passano Foundation recently named Dr. Olson the winner of the 2012 Passano Award, a $50,000 prize created in 1943 to honor U.S.-based research that leads to real-world applications. Dr. Olson will accept that prize April 30 in Baltimore. Twenty-three Passano Award recipients have gone on to win the Nobel Prize including Dr. Gilman, Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, chairman of molecular genetics; and his 1985 co-winner Dr. Michael S. Brown, director of the Erik Jonsson Center for Research in Molecular Genetics and Human Disease.  (Source)


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Community for Cures

Supporting research that can positively impact the lives of millions of humans living today with disease and injury helps protect hope for advancing cures.  Texas Cures provides the public with current and relevant information about the lifesaving research conducted in Texas and beyond through educational events and unique awareness campaigns. We invite you to register to receive communications and invitations from us and join our cure community in 2012.


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Uniting the community for cures.

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Stroke Leaders Unite

Texas Cures Walking 650Clinical Trails for Cell-Based Therapies in Stroke
World Leaders Gather in Washington D.C.

By Keri Kimler | December 10th, 2011

A stroke leaves a permanent gap in the brain that can destroy a person’s ability to speak and move normally. The good news? This may not have to be permanent in the not too distant future. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said it best in 2010,  “The possibility of using these cells to replace those that have been damaged by disease or injury is one of the most breathtaking advances we can envision.?

This month I was invited to attend a historic conference that brought together industry leaders, research investigators, and members of the NIH and FDA into a single forum to discuss cell-based therapies in strokeDr. Sean Savitz, conference program director and Director of Cellular Therapy and Translational Stroke Research at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, welcomed a prestigious, multidisciplinary group from around the globe to a unique conference held in Washington D.C., December 3-4. The conference was called “Enhancing the Development of Clinical Trials for Cell-Based Therapies in Stroke.?

Upon return, I came across an article on the NIH website published recently in Stem Cells Translational Medicine that echoes the spirit of this enlightening meeting very eloquently. “From our vantage point, it appears that the field of regenerative medicine has moved out of the rocky shallows and is rapidly sailing towards the therapeutic mainstream.?

Sean Savitz, MD, Director of Cellular Therapy and Translational Stroke at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston (right) Larry Wechsler, MD University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (left).

My review of the meeting from an advocate’s perspective…

The first day of the conference included a series of lectures by distinguished leaders in the field and covered the gamut of key basic science, translational and clinical trial issues. The second day was devoted to a series of workshops for participants to discuss and provide recommendations for guidelines on important research topics in the field that will later be published.

The meeting opened with a history overview of the group’s past conferences, STAIR and STEPS, by Dr. Savitz as well as a briefing on the conference goals.

The first session, chaired by Dr. Michael Chopp, an internationally recognized expert in the development and treatment of stroke and professor at Henry Ford Hospital, focused on biological mechanisms and began with a presentation from Dr. Cesar Borlongan, University of South Florida (USCF), on the expanding universe of available cell types. His colleague, Allison Willing reviewed the peripheral activities of cell therapy and Eva Mezey, head of the adult stem cell unit at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), discussed immunomodulation. The session ended with UCLA’s Tom Carmichael, MD, PhD discussing current research and concepts related to neurogenesis and angiogenesis.  All sessions were followed by moderated roundtable discussions.

Pictured: Tom Carmichael Jr., MD PhD, UCLA (left) Cesario Borlongan, PhD, University of South Florida (center) Sean Savitz, MD, University of Texas Medical School at Houston (right).

Challenges in Translation, a session chaired by Johannes Boltze, MD, head of the Department of Cell Therapy at Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, immediately followed and included presentations by Dr. Raphael Guzman and Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD, both professors of Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and Panayiotis Mitsias, MD,  Henry Ford Health Sciences Center.  Testing the safety of intra-arterial delivery, biological targets of cell therapy for stroke, and an overview of imaging markers were covered in this session.

Cellular therapy, including the use of stem cells, is a promising new investigational approach for the treatment of both acute and chronic stroke. Through pre-clinical studies, Savitz and other investigators have found that many types of cell therapies may have the potential to benefit patients who are still in the acute phase of their stroke. Strategies for designing both intravenous studies and intra-arterial studies in acute stroke were covered during the third session by Savitz and Dr. Dileep Yavagal, Director of Interventional Neurology at the University of Miami led these discussions.

We then moved from acute stroke to chronic stroke, chaired by Evan Snyder, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute where Dr. Casey Case, vice president of research at SanBio eloquently covered the rationale for cell therapy and Dr. Doug Kondziolka, University of Pittsburgh demonstrated intracranial delivery methods. Marcel Dihné gave an update on neural stem cells and Dr. Keith Muir concluded the session with a comprehensive review of the current clinical trials.

The final session of the day, Stroke Outcomes in Clinical Trials, chaired by Pam Duncan, Ph.D., P.T at Duke Center for Aging began with a review by Steve Cramer, University of California Irvine, entitled “Principles of human brain repair as they pertain to cell therapies,? followed by a presentation on “Traditional Endpoints vs. Domain-Specific Endpoints in clinical trials? by Seth Finkelstein, Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer at Biotrofix, Inc and associate neurologist at Massachusetts General.

Conference united leading stroke researchers from around the world. (Pictured: Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD Stanford University (left) and Wise Young, MD, PhD Rutger’s University (right).

Lei Xu, Office of Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapy (OCGCT) at FDA‘s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) evaluation division (DCEPT) shared the current perspectives of the agency on endpoint selection for efficacy studies as well as useful insights into label indications. The final presentation by FDAs product reviewer, Tom Finn, PhD, “Cell production pathway from initial studies to phase III trials? ended the day and set the stage for the following day’s breakout workshops.

The discussions carried well into the evening as everyone processed the data download and synthesized the detailed information presented by their peers.  These are the moments that I wish I could record and play back for you. Woven through the fabric of highly complex scientific conversation is an undeniable focus on the well being of patients.  The basic scientists and clinical researchers alike are operating with an eye toward health care—emphasis on “care.?

On Day Two, the group broke into two workshops to develop consensus recommendations for establishing Guidelines for Chronic Stroke and guidelines for Phase II/III Trials of Cell Therapy for Stroke.  Larry Wechsler, MD chaired the Chronic Stroke Guidelines appropriateness of initial safety testing in chronic stroke. The group also reviewed the various workshop and the participants discussed how cells could be used to enhance recovery according to their distinct biological mechanisms, the need for preclinical support, models currently available, and appropriateness of initial safety testing in chronic stroke. The group also reviewed the various delivery routes and recommendations for outcome measures.

The second workshop, Phase II/III Trials of Cell Therapy for Stroke, was led by Steve Cramer and included discussions of patient selection and feasibility of acute time windows, global scales vs. domain specific scales, standardizing rehab strategies, considerations for comparison and combination studies with other rehab modalities and FDA approved labels.

Keri Kimler, Founder Texas Cures Education Foundation and volunteer advisor Texans for Stem Cell Research.

After two very interactive breakout sessions, the group reunited and the workshop chairs presented the recommendations from their groups with a lively general discussion before adjourning the weekend meeting and heading for home.

This conference was very well organized and the feedback by the participants was overwhelmingly positive. As an advocate for responsible research that holds so much promise for relieving suffering and providing solutions for diseases like stroke, it is  encouraging to see the commitment by world leaders to working together to move science forward for the benefit of patients.

I wish everyone could have an opportunity to listen to these presentations and witness the true spirit of collaboration between doctors, researchers, scientists, radiologists, industry leaders and representatives of our government agencies.

We are in very good hands if this group continues to make the effort that I witnessed in Washington, DC. Our health care future looks brighter from my vantage point and I am certain this meeting will enhance the development of well-designed clinical trials that will lead to safe and effective cell-based therapies for millions suffering from a stroke.




Uniting the pro-cures community.


Scientific advancements in stem cell science and the biomedical research can lead to treatments and therapies for incurable diseases and medical conditions for which doctors have few or no effective options today.  In many different ways, stem cell research provides the keys to developing cures.  By illuminating the importance of this research, we strive to clarify misconceptions and shift away from any perception of controversy.

Cell lines provide tools for drug discovery and development of cell therapies for curing a host of disabling and often deadly medical conditions, and for which current and continuing needs are unmet.

These include, among others, multiple sclerosis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, blindness, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, birth defects and many more.


The Stem Cell Action Coalition serves as an engine uniting the pro-cures community.

Learn more about the The Community.





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Protecting hope for advancing cures.

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