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Leading-edge Stem Cell researcher to speak at BIG ARTS on April 18

By Staff | Apr 8, 2010

Dr. Irving Weissman

Submitted by CATHY PAUS

BIG ARTS New Frontiers lecture series presents scientists who are leaders in their field. Dr. Irving Weissman, one of the leading adult stem cell research scientists in the world, will present his research 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 18 at BIG ARTS Schein Performance Hall, located at 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel.

Weissman will explain why so many scientists believe stem cells provide enormous potential for life-saving therapies. Dr. Weissman is the Director of Stanford University’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, one of the nation’s top stem cell programs.

Tickets are general admission: $25, and students $10.

He has directed the Institute since its founding, providing vision and leadership to build one of the nation’s top stem cell programs. In 1988, Dr. Weissman became the first to isolate in pure form any stem cell in any species when he isolated the hematopoietic or blood-forming stem cell in mice. His work has opened up an entirely new area of scientific research with enormous potential for life-saving therapies.

Weissman recently made an exciting step toward the goal of transplanting adult stem cells to create a new immune system for people with autoimmune or genetic blood diseases. As published in the November 2007 issue of Science, his lab found a novel way to transplant new blood-forming stem cells into the bone marrow of mice without the tissue-damaging radiation or chemotherapy usually required, thereby effectively replacing their immune systems. Many aspects of this technique will need to be adapted before it can be tested in humans, but when those barriers are surmounted, the benefits could be significant. An immune system transplant, much like a liver or heart transplant, would give a person with an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis, hope for a healthy future.

In addition to being the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research, he is a professor of pathology and developmental biology at Stanford, and, by courtesy, professor of neurosurgery and of biological sciences.

For more information visit www.BIGARTS.org or call BIG ARTS Marks Box Office at (239) 395-0900.