On May 26, 2010, in a press briefing in New York, Reverend Tomasz Trafny of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture and Dr. Robin Smith, CEO of NeoStem, made announced what they characterized as the Vatican’s first-ever contractual collaboration with an outside commercial venture to advance stem cell research – adult stem cell research. Reverend Trafny also revealed that the Pontifical Council for Culture through its charitable foundation STOQ International, is making an economic commitment of one million dollars to start its collaboration with NeoStem, an international biopharmaceutical company with operations in the US and China.
This initiative is partnering NeoStem’s and the Vatican’s charitable organizations to expand research and raise awareness of adult stem cell therapies. The initiative will entail work on a variety of collaborative activities with the goal of advancing scientific research on adult stem cells and exploring their clinical application in the field of regenerative medicine, as well as the cultural impact of such research.
In addition to the breakthrough research expected to occur as part of this partnership and the three day International Conference that took place at the Vatican in November 2011, the Vatican and NeoStem is spearheading an education campaign geared towards generating awareness of the cultural relevance of such a fundamental shift in medical treatment options, particularly with regard to the impact on theological and ethical issues.
Specifically, NeoStem and the Pontifical Council are developing educational programs, publications and academic courses with an interdisciplinary approach for theological and philosophical faculties, including those of bioethics, around the world.
The charitable organizations from both partners that specifically are driving activity are NeoStem’s Stem for Life Foundation, and the Pontifical Council’s Foundation, called STOQ International (Science Theology and the Ontological Quest).
“Considering the potential implication of scientific investigation, medical applicability and the cultural impact of research on adult stem cells, we view the collaboration with NeoStem as a critical effort,” said Rev. Trafny. “Through educational initiatives with NeoStem and sponsorship of scientific research programs involving cutting edge adult stem cell science which does not hurt human life, we come one step closer to a breakthrough that can relieve needless human suffering. We are particularly excited about NeoStem’s VSEL™ technology and believe that mutual collaboration between NeoStem and the Pontifical Council for Culture could lead to significant financial commitment to support VSEL™ technology research.”
All initiatives are aiming at providing information, teaching and research regarding important issues of human health and of the present and future of medical progress in relation to adult stem cell research and with respect to the great value of human life. NeoStem and the Pontifical Council for Culture, through their collaboration, aspire to reach religious leaders and academicians working in the Pontifical and Catholic Institutions but also to extend their work and results to different institutions beyond the Catholic environment.