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Vatican hosts conference on advancements in stem cell therapy

2013-04-09

DR. ROBIN SMITH
President, Stem for Life Foundation

"These cells come from all of us. They're in your teeth, in your fat, in your bone marrow. They come from the umbilical chord and the placenta, that's an adult stem cell therapy. So the idea is that you can get these cells without having to destroy a fetus.”

She highlights there are currently there are 4,300 clinical trials for adult stem cell research, as opposed to 26 for embryonic cells.

The conference, from April 11-13, is also set to highlight the Catholic Church's active participation in adult stem cell research and therapy, especially in their pastoral mission to care for the sick.

Dr. Smith adds such religious support is critical, because believers won't be forced to choose between their morals and a cure.

DR. ROBIN SMITH
President, Stem for Life Foundation
"The idea is to have everyone understand that they can support this and not be in violation of any faith. And that there is truly a bridge between science and religion.”

One of the main events will be a keynote speech on Friday by Dr. John Gurdon, the recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Medicine. His work focused on reprogramming adult stem cells to adapt to the tissues of other body parts.

In addition to religious and medical leaders, the conference will bring together philanthropic and political delegates, in hopes of boosting support and funding for ongoing and new research. For the first time it will also focus on youth.

DR. ROBIN SMITH
President, Stem for Life Foundation

"We've brought over 25 students from universities from around the world; to bring back the message back to their communities, to help educate the young scientists and the younger generation, to understand how important this adult stem cell science will be for the future.”

The first conference on adult stem cells brought together close to 300 people in November 2011 under Benedict XVI. Because of his recent election, organizers say Pope Francis' involvement in this year's conference will be minimal.


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