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Global Stem Cell Forum in China Showcases Cutting Edge Research, Focuses on New Findings for iPS Cells

Saturday, July 26, 2008 General News J E 4
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TAIZHOU, Jiangsu, China, July 25 Over 300 ofChina's top stem cell biologists and researchers from around the globe sharedtheir latest results and held China's first ever symposium on advanced inducedpluripotent stem (iPS) cell research during the just concluded first annual2008 China Stem Cell Technology Forum at the China Medical City complex inTaizhou, China. At the Forum, which was chaired by Dr. Sean Hu, Chairman ofBeike Biotechnology Co., Ltd., ( http://www.beikebiotech.com ) some of theworld's most respected researchers presented their latest laboratory findingsand clinical trial results in using stem cells to treat common ailments likeheart disease and nervous system diseases such as cerebral palsy, spinal cordinjury, muscular dystrophy, and optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH). Biologistsattending the Mandarin Chinese language Forum came from leading researchcenters in nearly all of China's major cities, and as far away as the UnitedStates, Canada, India, Australia, and Malaysia.

A special symposium entitled Advanced iPS Cell Technology, convened aspart of the Forum, brought together for the first time over a dozen scientistsinvolved in cutting edge stem cell research at some of America and China'smost respected science universities and research labs. A potential substitutefor embryonic stem cells, genetically programmable iPS cells are widelybelieved to be at the very forefront of the field's most exciting researchfrontier as iPS cells theoretically could deliver the greatest therapeuticbenefit. Since iPS cells can be produced from the building blocks in anyindividual's own body, they bring the potential that people may someday beable to heal a range of sicknesses from tissue cells they have bankedthemselves. At the symposium, renowned stem cell scientists like Dr. Hu Jifanof the Palo Alto VA Health Care System under the Stanford University MedicalSchool, Dr. Xiang Peng of Sun Yat Sen University, Dr. Zhang Yaou of Tsing HuaUniversity, Dr. Kong Hsiang-Fu of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dr.Zhou Xiangjun of Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Dr. Yong-Jian Geng of theUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the Texas HeartInstitute, discussed their own latest advancements since recent breakthroughsat the University of Wisconsin and Kyoto University in Japan. The scientistsalso discussed mutual cooperation and research oversight opportunities,creation of ethical research guidelines in China, and future iPS cell researchdirections. At the symposium, a special subgroup of China's leadingcardiovascular scientists like Dr. Chen Haozhu of Fudan University, Dr. WangShiwen of the Chinese PLA General Hospital, and Dr. Zhang Fumin of NanjingMedical University conferred on the use of stem cells in heart diseasetreatment, as well as new research methods and ethical responsibilities inthat field.

Dr. Yong-Jian Geng, M.D., Ph.D, Director of the Heart Failure and StemCell Research Lab at the Texas Heart Institute and Professor of Medicine atthe University of Texas Medical School in Houston, said, "Scientists andclinicians have been doing incredible research on stem cells, and generatingmany exciting results. I feel confident more breakthroughs will be coming soon.I was very pleased and honored to be invited to participate in this discussion,and I am willing to help Chinese investigators establish guidelines that will,in my opinion, help develop a global standard for the stem cell therapies."

Dr. Hu Jifan, noted senior research scientist at the Palo Alto VA HealthCare System under the Stanford University Medical School said, "Leadingscientists in China are constantly finding ways to create more effective iPScells. Through this forum we agreed to help verify each other's work, shareexperiences, and ensure safe, high-standard research takes place so that wemay someday create the conditions for effective clinical treatments andindustrial scale p
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