Stem Cells: Niches, Regeneration & Repair
This workshop provides an introduction and update to the recent advances on the biology and therapeutic application of stem cells, the challenges and prospects for patient specific therapy and a forum for discussion of the associated ethical and moral issues arising from stem cell research.
Stem cells which could differentiate along a multitude of lineage pathways have the potential to constitute the many different tissues in our body, and thus hold the key to effective reparative and regenerative remedies for diseases, disorders and conditions that currently lack satisfactory treatment. Recent advances in stem cell research have led to the identification and characterization of an expanding compendium of cell types that display self-renewal and extensive lineage potency like conventional embryonic stem cells. Of particular significance is the generation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from fully differentiated somatic cells and the isolation of tissue/organ-specific progenitor cells. The identification, manipulation and harnessing of these stem and progenitor cells for regeneration and repair is a current frontier in regenerative medicine. The major goal of this ASI is to educate and update research in HK and surrounding regions on the enormous progress in stem cell research, their potential in regenerative medicine and the associated ethical and legal issues. Through this ASI basic scientists and clinicians can learn of the latest developments, experimental approaches and technical hurdles for the derivation and use of pluripotential Embryonic Stem (ES) cells, iPS cells, the associated challenges for directed differentiation and the identification and maintenance of adult stem cells. Importantly the ASI will also cover the moral and ethical and legal concerns arising from the research and applications of stem cell therapy for example for patient specific stem cells and clinical trials. This should encourage a forum for continued discussion, which it is hoped will impact on how the field is regulated.