Conference Schedule

The Conference Schedule is subject to change.

Day 1: Thursday, April 11, 2013

Moderator: Meredith Vieira, Correspondent, NBC News

8:30 AM Guest arrival

9:15 AM Greetings

Gianfranco Cardinal RavasiPresident of the Pontifical Council for Culture

9:35 AM Overview of the Conference and 2013 Goals

Dr. Robin SmithChairman and President of the Stem for Life Foundation

9:45 AM Video: Highlights from 30 Years of Adult Stem Cell Advances

9:55 AM Living With Chronic Illness and the Promise of Regenerative Medicine

Meredith VieiraCorrespondent, NBC News

10:05 AM Multiple Sclerosis: Hope for the Future

Moderator: Richard M. CohenJournalist

Dr. Saud SadiqDirector, The Tisch MS Research Center of New York

Dr. Richard BurtChief of Division of Immunotherapy, Dept. of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Roxane Julia Beygi, Multiple Sclerosis Stem Cell Patient

Jim DanhaklCIDP Stem Cell Patient

This session will look at current therapies for MS and the need for treatment that repairs or regenerates neurological damage. The session will highlight results from 120 patients who have undergone autologous (one’s own) hematopoietic (blood) stem cell transplantation performed in the inflammatory or active stage of multiple sclerosis which has demonstrated sustained treatment free remission for beyond 5 years and significant reversal of neurologic disability and improvement in quality of life.

11:35 AM Tcelna™: T-cell Immunotherapy for Multiple Sclerosis

Neil WarmaPresident and Chief Executive Officer of Opexa Therapeutics

Opexa Therapeutics is providing hope to Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis patients and their families with Tcelna™, a personalized cellular immunotherapy in late stage clinical development. Tcelna has the potential to address the significant unmet medical needs of the large multiple sclerosis patient population.

11:55 PM Break

12:10 PM Pontifical Hero Award

12:20 PM Panel Discussion: Contemporary Stem Cell Transplants and Current Research

Moderator: Dr. Max GomezWBCS-TV Correspondent

Panel: Dr. Edwin HorwitzChildren’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Stephen NimerDirector, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Amitabha MazumderNew York University Cancer Center

A discussion of current uses and biological principles in stem cell transplants for treatment of leukemias, other cancers, and non-malignancies; the role of nonmyeloablative or “mini” transplants; engineering a graft vs leukemia response; sources for stem cells and their role as “helpers” rather than sources of differentiated cells.

1:15 PM Buffet Lunch and Breakout Lunches

• Living with MS with the Cohen/Vieira Family and Opexa Therapeutics (limited space)

• Student Ambassadors Lunch

2:40 PM Regulatory Realities: A Success Story

Dr. C. Randal Mills, President and Chief Executive Officer, Osiris Therapeutics

A review of the scientific, regulatory, and moral challenges encountered during the development and approval of one of the world’s first approved stem cell drugs, with specific emphasis placed on the unique obstacles of developing a therapy for children with a rare and lethal disease.

3:00 PM Stem Cell Therapies in 2050

Robin R. YoungPresident of RRY Publications and Robin Young Consulting Group

As of the end of last year, more than 1 million patients have been treated with stem cell therapies for a wide range of diseases. The safety profile for these therapies has been outstanding. What have we learned so far and how will stem cell therapies continue to evolve? Based on emerging trends, by 2050 stem cell therapies are likely to look very different than they do today. And, by 2050, they will be routine treatment for hundreds of millions of patients.

3:15 PM Video: Cardiovascular Cell Therapy

3:20 PM Discussion: Cardiovascular Cell Therapy – Patient and Physician Perspectives

Dr. Jonathan Sackner-BernsteinVice President of Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs, NeoStem

Don RobinsonCardiovascular Cell Therapy Patient, AMR-001

Discussion by a cardiologist who will describe how heart attacks impact the heart and how cell therapy is used to treat heart attacks and an interview with a patient who will tell his personal story of cell therapy treatment.

3:30 PM Break

3:45 PM Panel Discussion: Best Cell Therapies for Cardiovascular Disease: Autologous vs. Allogeneic

Moderator: Edward TenthoffSenior Research Analyst, Piper Jaffray

Panel: Autologous Cell Therapies:

Dr. Douglas W. LosordoNorthwestern University

Dr. Piero AnversaBrigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Andreas Michael ZeiherUniversity of Frankfurt

Allogeneic Cell Therapies:

Dr. Gil Van BokkelenChairman and Chief Executive Officer, Athersys

Dr. Donna SkerrettChief Medical Officer, Mesoblast

View a video on Mesoblast here »

This panel will highlight the exciting progress being made with adult stem cell therapies to treat cardiovascular disease. Leading physicians from Europe and America along with representatives from global biotech companies will discuss on-going clinical trials and debate the pros and cons of autologous versus allogeneic approaches.

5:00 PM How Do You Turn a Cell Into a Therapy?

Dr. Robert A. PretiPresident and Chief Scientific Officer, Progenitor Cell Therapy

Cell therapies are “manufactured”, following and adapting many of the guidelines of traditional pharmaceutical manufacturing, but keeping in mind that these are complex biological products and have their own unique requirements. The cells must be carefully collected, transported, processed, stored, and delivered to the patient.

5:20 PM Key Innovator Award Presentation

6:00 PM Cocktail Reception at the Vatican Museums

7:00 PM Private Tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

Day 2: Friday, April 12, 2013

Moderator: Bill Hemmer, Anchor, Fox News Channel

8:30 AM Guest Arrival

9:00 AM Opening Remarks

Dr. Robin SmithChairman and President of the Stem for Life Foundation

9:10 AM The American Landscape of Stem Cell Politics

Tommy G. ThompsonFormer U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary

A former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (2001-2005) under President G.W. Bush, Tommy Thompson will provide an overview of how the stem cell culture debates divided the United States, and much of the world.

9:20 AM Panel Discussion: The Politics, Perceptions & Promise of Stem Cell Therapies

Moderator: Peggy NoonanWall Street Journal columnist and author


Norm Coleman, Former U.S. Senator, Minnesota

William HurlbutFormer Member, President’s Council on Bioethics

Tommy G. ThompsonFormer U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary

Dr. Chris MasonUniversity College London

The long, painful, fifteen year debate over stem cell research and therapy is changing – because the facts of the debate have changed. The most promising therapeutic breakthroughs are being made in the area of adult stem cell research, while fetal research, the source of so much anguished disagreement, has unexpectedly yielded less impressive results. How does all this change the stem cell debate in the Western

democracies? Where does the debate stand? What is next? What is needed?

10:35 AM Keynote Speech: Dr. John Gurdon, 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine Winner

11:05 AM Break

11:20 AM Pontifical Hero Award

11:30 AM Panel Discussion: Organ & Tissue Repair

Moderator: Bill HemmerAnchor, Fox News Channel

Dr. Paolo De Coppi, Head of Surgery Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health

Dr. Christopher J. CentenoCenteno-Schultz Clinic

Dr. Dolores BakshDirector of Research & Development, Organogenesis Inc.

This panel will examine the latest developments in organ and tissue regeneration, including stem cell-supported tracheal transplantation, the use of stem cells in knee osteoarthritis, and skin repair using cellular material.

12:20 PM Pontifical Hero Award

12:30 PM Buffet Lunch and Breakout Lunches

• Healing the Heart with Dr. Emerson C. Perin, Texas Heart Institute (limited space)

• Student Ambassadors Lunch

1:55 PM Video: Hope for the Future, featuring Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly

2:00 PM Panel Discussion: Adult Stem Cells & Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries

Moderator: Dr. Martin M. BednarExecutive Director, Neuroscience Research, Pfizer

Dr. David C. HessProfessor and Chairman Dept. of Neurology and Co-Director of The Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute at Georgia Regents University

Dr. Charles CoxPediatric Program in Regenerative Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Dr. Dong H. KimProfessor and Chairman, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Dr. Jonathan Sackner-BernsteinVice President of Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs, NeoStem

The panel will provide an overview of neurorestorative clinical trials for various central nervous system (CNS) disorders, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury. Over the early part of this decade, there has been a shift toward the increasing use of autologous stem cell approaches in clinical trials for CNS disorders. Although there has been a significant increase in neurorestorative clinical trials for traumatic brain injury, many of these studies employ growth hormone to encourage neurorestoration, with the number of adult stem cell approaches remaining constant in the current decade.

3:15 PM Break

3:25 PM Discussion: Targeting Diabetes, from Immunoregulation to Replacement Strategies

Moderator: Dr. Robin Smith, Chairman and President of the Stem for Life Foundation


Dr. Camillo RicordiDirector of Cell Transplant Center and Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami, Florida

Dr. Jonathan LakeyDirector of Research and Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of California, Irvine

The high cost of healthcare is directly associated with the increase in mortality and morbidity of diabetes. More than 20% of the health care dollars in the U.S. is spent for the care of people with diagnosed diabetes. While investment in diabetes prevention offers the opportunity to generate savings three times higher than the future costs associated with the diseases, adult stem cells offer the opportunity to develop cost effective therapeutic strategies. Another tactic, cell transplantation of isolated islets from piglet pancreases, offers a model of viable cells for transplantation.

3:55 PMT-cell Immunotherapy for Diabetes

Dr. Andrew Pecora, Chief Medical Officer of NeoStem

4:10 PM Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders and Scholars Through Education

Dr. Anthony J. CerneraPresident and CEO of the Center for Interreligious

Understanding Education has always been an important element in the building of the human community. In the 21st century, cultivating the knowledge, skills, competencies and imagination for a world of rapid and constant change is essential.

4:25 PM The Student Ambassador for a Cellular Age Program

Catherine VaczyTrustee of the Stem for Life Foundation

Monsignor Tomasz TrafnyPontifical Council for Culture

4:30 PM Ethical Considerations in Scientific Discovery

Dr. Antonio Gioacchino SpagnoloDirector of the Institute of Bioethics, School of Medicine at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome

4:45 PM Education, Faith, Science & Culture in a Cellular Future

Dr. Philip SloanUniversity of Notre Dame

Fr. Nicanor Pier Giorgio AustriacoProvidence College

5:15 PM Social & Cultural Considerations for Cellular Therapies

Dr. Malik M. HasanFounder and CEO of HealthTrio

The ability to extend the healthy life span would have profound social consequences in the sciences, arts, and economics.

5:30 PM Cord Blood and Placental Stem Cells: Perceptions and Opportunities

Dr. Robert HaririFounder and Chief Executive Officer of Celgene Cellular Therapeutics

Stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood and the post partum placenta have an established track record as therapeutics for human disease. The versatility and unique biological advantages of cells derived from a living, newborn donor make this highly scalable source one of the most powerful platforms for the pharmaceuticalization of cell therapy. Those attributes and current experience with the clinical development of placental cells as the treatment for multiple clinical indications will be described.

5:50 PM Key Visionary Award Presentation

Day 3: Saturday, April 13, 2013

Moderator: Dr. Max GomezWBCS-TV Correspondent

7:30 AM Guest Arrival

8:00 AM Opening Remarks

Dr. Robin SmithChairman and President of the Stem for Life Foundation

8:10 AM Pontifical Hero Award

8:20 AM Stem Cells, Cancer and Aging — A Search for Solutions.

Stem Cells as a Solution to the Global Aging Dilemma

Dr. Vincent C. GiampapaChief Medical Officer and Co-Founder of CellHealth™ Institute

VSELs and Aging

Dr. Mariusz Z. RatajczakDirector of the Developmental Biology Research Program, James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville

Can Aging be Reversed?

Dr. Ronald A. DePinhoPresident of University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

What Questions Haven’t Been Addressed with Respect to Stem Cells, Cancer and Aging?

Dr. Wayne A. MarascoDana-Farber Cancer Institute

9:05 AM Break

9:15 AM Panel: How a Genetic Mutation Can Increase Life Span and Prevent Cancer and Diabetes

Moderator: Dr. Max GomezWCBS-TV Correspondent

Dr. Nir BarzilaiDirector of the Institute for Aging Research, Albert Einsten college of Medicine

Maria AngeliniLongevity Study Subject

Dr. Valter LongoDirector of the Longevity Institute, University of Southern California, Davis

Dr. Jaime Guevara-AguirreUniversity San Francisco/Instituto IEMYR, Ecuador

Norman Alexander Apolo-RamirezLaron Syndrome Study Subject

This panel will examine the new frontiers of cellular research pertaining to longevity, epigenetics and disease resistance, with a unique look at patients with Laron syndrome and their absence of cancer and diabetes.

10:00 AM Key Philanthropy Award Presentation

10:10 AM Closing Remarks

Dr. Robin SmithChairman and President of the Stem for Life Foundation

Monsignor Tomasz TrafnyPontifical Council for Culture

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