Houston Stem Cell Summit Announces Extraordinary Lineup of Keynote Speakers

HOUSTON, Oct. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Houston Stem Cell Summit will host an extraordinary lineup of keynote speakers who represent the most accomplished stem cell scientists, clinicians and entrepreneurs in the United States. Joining these distinguished speakers will be Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, consistent champion of adult stem cell therapies.

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The Houston Stem Cell Summit will be held October 26 – 27 in its namesake city and will highlight the latest therapeutic research regarding the use of adult stem and progenitor cell therapies. The Summit will also provide a forum for entrepreneurs to discuss their latest efforts to commercialize stem cell therapies, and to debate and discuss FDA and other legal and regulatory issues impacting stem cell research and commercialization.

Opening Keynote Address October 26, 2012 – Arnold I. Caplan, PhD, Professor of Biology and Professor of General Medical Sciences (Oncology) Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Caplan has helped shape the direction and focus of adult stem cell research and commercialization. Virtually every adult stem cell company and literally tens of thousands of research papers are based on Dr. Caplan's original and ground breaking research. Professor Caplan is considered to be the "father" of the mesenchymal stem cell and first described this progenitor cell in his landmark paper; "Mesenchymal stem cells", Journal of Orthopaedic Research 1991;9(5):641-650. Since that foundational study, Dr. Caplan has published over 360 manuscripts and articles in peer reviewed journals. Dr. Caplan has been Chief Scientific Officer at OrthoCyte Corporation since 2010. In addition, Dr. Caplan co-founded Cell Targeting Inc. and has served as President of Skeletech, Inc. as its founder. He is the recipient of several honors and awards from the orthopedic research community. Dr. Caplan holds a Ph. D. from Johns Hopkins University Medical School and a B.S. in chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Summit Keynote Address October 26, 2012 – Texas Governor Rick Perry

Governor Perry is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. Governor Perry has long championed the role of medical technologies in building the future of not only Texas, but also the United States. In many ways, his strong advocacy on behalf of research and advanced medical technologies is one of his strongest and as yet underappreciated legacies. In addition to his service to the state of Texas, Governor Perry has also served as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2008 and again in 2011. Despite a rigorous schedule, particularly in the teeth of this election season, Governor Perry has graciously made time to speak and encourage the researchers, patients, companies and physicians who form the fabric and future of the stem cell therapy community.

Texas Medical Center Keynote Address, October 27, 2012 – James T. Willerson, MD

Over the course of his career, Dr. James T. Willerson has served as a medical, scientific and administrative leader for each of the major institutions that are the foundation of the Texas Medical Center. Dr. Willerson is currently President and Medical Director, Director of Cardiology Research, and Co-Director of the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratories at Texas Heart Institute (THI). Dr. Willerson was appointed President-Elect of THI in 2004 and became President and Medical Director in 2008. He is also an adjunct professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is the former chief of Cardiology at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital and the former chief of Medical Services at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Dr. Willerson has served as a visiting professor and invited lecturer at more than 170 institutions.

Honorary Summit Keynote Speaker – Doris Taylor, PhD

Dr. Doris Taylor is one of the world's leading cell therapy and cardiac regeneration scientists. Prior to joining the Texas Heart Institute, she was the Medtronic-Bakken Chair in Cardiac Repair and the Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Repair at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Taylor's research blends the use of stem cells, genes, and devices to develop novel cardiac and vascular technologies—ones to prevent, treat, and hopefully one day, cure heart ailments.

Most recently, Dr. Taylor and her team garnered international recognition for "whole organ decellularization," which is a technique for removing existing cells from hearts of laboratory animals and even humans leaving a framework to build new organs. They repopulated the framework with other adult stem cells then provided a blood supply, and the heart regenerated with the characteristics and functions of a revitalized beating heart.

Friday Industry Keynote Speaker – Silvio Itescu. MD, MBBS (Hons), FRACP, FACP, FACR. Mesoblast Limited.

Professor Itescu is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mesoblast, the highest market value stem cell company. In addition to his entrepreneurial successes, Professor Itescu has established an outstanding international reputation as a physician scientist in the fields of stem cell biology, autoimmune diseases, organ transplantation, and heart failure. He is currently an active faculty member of the University of Melbourne and Monash University and was previously a faculty member of Columbia University in New York. He has consulted for various international pharmaceutical companies, has been an adviser to biotechnology and health care investor groups, and has served on the Board of Directors of a number of publicly listed life sciences companies.

Saturday Industry Keynote Speaker – C. Randal Mills. PhD, CEO, Osiris Therapeutics, Inc.

Dr. Mills is one of the most experienced stem cell executives in the industry and has created a new approach to the traditional bio-pharma business model at Osiris Therapeutics, which not only created significant value for his shareholders, but helped to create today's active stem cell market. Dr. Mills is President and Chief Executive Officer of Osiris, having joined the firm in July 2004. Among his many accomplishments at Osiris, Dr. Mills directed his company to receive the first FDA approval for an on-label, off the shelf stem cell based therapy. Prior to joining Osiris, Dr. Mills was an executive officer of Regeneration Technologies, Inc. Dr. Mills served in several leadership positions at RTI from its formation in 1998 until 2004, including Vice President of Business Development and Vice President of Operations and R&D, and is credited with several key initiatives, including the development and commercialization of RTI's core technology, BioCleanse. Prior to RTI, Dr. Mills was a member of the founding management team of the University of Florida Tissue Bank, Inc., the predecessor company to RTI. Dr. Mills received a Bachelor's degree in microbiology and cell science, and a PhD in drug development, both from the University of Florida.

Additional details about the Houston Stem Cell Summit and our celebrated lineup of keynote speakers are available online at www.stemcellsummit.com. Registration is now open.

Contact Information:
Robin R. Young
Houston Stem Cell Summit Organizer

SOURCE Houston Stem Cell Summit