ISSCR 2016: A quick recap

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On the afternoon of Saturday, June 25th, 2016, biochemist Dr. Robert Tijan’s keynote speech at San Francisco’s Moscone center closed this year’s ISSCR Conference.

It was a successful event – during the opening plenary session, earlier in the week on Wednesday 6/22, president Sean Morrison remarked this was the biggest ever meeting, with over 3,600 registered delegates. Over seven plenary sessions – covering topics as diverse as Cellular Plasticity and Programming, Stem Cells and Cancer, to Gene Therapy and Epigenetics – were scheduled, alongside 28 concurrent sessions, where the latest research in stem cell metabolism, tissue engineering, neural diseases and stem cell niches – among others – was presented.

This year, the 2016 McEwen Award for Innovation was jointly awarded to Dr. Austin Smith from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research and Institute for Stem Cell Biology, UK and Dr. Qi-Long Ying from the University of Southern California, USA. Dr. Smith followed the presentation of the $100,000 award with a talk focused on his groundbreaking work on the ground state network of embryonic stem cells.

During the same session (Stem Cells and Cancer), Dr. Elaine Fuchs from Rockefeller University gave a remarkable speech which included her latest work in identifying a group of cancer cells, using skin as the model, resistant to cancer therapy. You can access the paper in question here.

Elsewhere, Dr. Michael Sadelain from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center in New York City discussed his lab’s important work on the control on transgene expression in vivo in hematopoietic stem cells, with a particular focus on the effect of locus control regions.

Multiple other illuminating talks from luminaries in the field were spread over the 4 day event, including dozens of innovation showcases, networking and early career events. 150+ companies exhibited the latest in their products and technologies.

Over 600 posters were also presented at the conference during 3 well-attended sessions.

A quick survey of ISSCR indicated a strong focus – on the research side – on gene therapy. CRISPR has emerged as a mature g0-to technology for gene editing, and this was reflected not only through talks, but particularly exhibitor booths that prominently offered this as a service technology.

IPS cell and pluripotency once again enjoyed prominence, though there was lots of talk about reprogramming and differentiation and stem cell plasticity, indicating the field’s broad focus on tissue regeneration strategy and potential therapies.

When it comes to tissue engineering, new technologies – 3D printing, microfabrication, electrospinning and DMSO-free cryopreservation – highlighted some remarkable new avenues that are opening up the possibilities of stem cell research.

If you would like more information about Akron’s talk and posters, where we presented the latest research in DMSO-free cryopreservation and 3D scaffold fabrication, please contact us.


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