Beckman Symposium 2003: Stem Cells, Regenerative Medicine, and Cancer

April 14th - 15th, 2003 | Fairchild Auditorium

Monday, April 14

12 P.M. Philip A. Pizzo, M.D., Dean, Stanford University School of Medicine  Welcome and Opening Remarks
12:10 P.M.

Irving Weissman, M.D., Director, Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine: Professor of Cancer Biology, of Pathology, of Developmental Biology, and of Biological Sciences, Stanford University


Moderated by Margaret Fuller, Ph.D., Professor of Developmental Biology, and of Genetics, Stanford University

Stem Cells and Cancer
1 P.M. Rudolf Jaenisch, M.D., Professor of Biology, Whitehead Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Nuclear Cloning and Reprogramming of the Genome
2 P.M. BREAK  
2:30 P.M. M. Azim Surani, Ph.D., Marshall-Walton Professor of Reproduction, The Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Institute of Cancer Research and Developmental Biology, University of Cambridge, UK Germ Line, Stem Cells and Epigenetic Reprogramming
3:30 P.M. James Thomson, V.M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Anatomy, University of Wisconsin, Madison Human Embryonic Stem Cells
4:30 P.M. A panel discussion moderated by Irving Weissman, with today's guest speakers and Paul Berg, Lucy Shapiro, Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Blackburn, and Harold Varmus Human Pluripotent Stem Cells: Where Do We Go from Here?

Tuesday, April 15

8:20 A.M.

Lucy Shapiro, Ph.D., Director, Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine, and Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research, Stanford University


Moderated by Judith Shizuru, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Stanford University

Opening Remarks
8:30 A.M. Owen Witte, M.D., Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Los Angeles Effects of the BCR-ABL Oncogene on Hematopoietic Progenitors
9:25 A.M. Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco  Telomeres, Telomerase and Their Cellular Growth Effects
10:20 A.M. BREAK  
10:45 A.M. Michael F. Clarke, M.D., Professor of Medicine, and of Developmental Biology, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Cancer Stem Cells and Self-Renewal
11:40 A.M. Harold Varmus, M.D., President, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Intimations of Sternness in Mouse Models of Pancreatic and Breast Cancers
12:30 P.M.  LUNCH  


Moderated by Theo Palmer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, and of Neurology, Stanford University

1:30 P.M. Fred Gage, Ph.D., Laboratory of Genetics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California Structural Plasticity in the Adult Mammalian Brain
2:30 P.M. Hynek Wichterle, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University Directed Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells into Motor Neurons
3:30 P.M. BREAK  
3:45 P.M. Seung Kim, MO., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Developmental Biology, and of Medicine, Stanford University Using Stem Cells to Replace Pancreatic Islets and Understand Neuroendocrine Tumors
4:45 P.M. Paul Berg, Ph.D., Director and Emeritus, Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine, and Cahill Professor Emeritus in Biochemistry, Stanford University Closing Remarks

Speaker Profiles

Elizabeth Blackburn is known worldwide for her work on telomeres, the structures that stabilize the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes, and telomerase, which maintains telomeres. She is professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research focuses on the synthesis and functions of telomeres, and her discovery of telomere synthesis by telomerase in cells led to the finding that cell division is impaired by the actions of certain types of mutant telomerases.

Michael Clarke's research interests at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, include both the genetic control of self-renewal of normal hematopoietic stem cells and the identification and characterization of cancer stem cells. His lab has developed a technique that allows the isolation and characterization of tumorigenic and non-tumorigenic populations of cancer cells present in human breast cancer tumors, leading to more effective therapeutic strategies for breast cancer treatment. His lab also uses modern array technology to study the genes expressed by the hematopoietic stem cell, resulting in a novel method of making full-length cDNA from small numbers of cells.

Fred Gage is a leader in the field of neural regeneration and central nervous system (CNS) gene therapy. At the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, Gage studies degeneration and regeneration in the adult central nervous system, with an eye on possible future treatments for everything from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's, and Huntington’s diseases, to leukemia and lymphoma, to physical brain damage resulting from strokes or injury.

Rudolf Jaenisch is a founding member of the Whitehead Institute, professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and one of the originators of transgenic science (gene transfer to create mouse models of human disease). His lab has produced mouse models leading to new understanding of cancers and various neurological diseases. He also has made important contributions to cloning technology.

MA Surani is a UK-based researcher with the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology, University of Cambridge, whose interests include investigating the origin of the mouse germ cell lineage, and the epigenetic modifications that are unique to this lineage. The segregation of primordial germ cells (PGCs) from somatic cells is an early fundamental event during development, detailed single cell analysis of which may provide insights into the making of key cell fate decisions. A related unresolved question is that of trans-differentiation in mammals. If confirmed, it is likely that environmental factors would be involved in this phenomenon, in which case it will be important to determine how epigenetic responses can be induced by environmental cues. Experiments may show how environmental cues trigger epigenetic responses in cells. These mechanisms may have relevance to our understanding of how some cancers may be initiated by epigenetic changes in response to environmental cues.

James Thomson is a researcher at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. His work focuses chiefly on understanding how primate embryonic stem (ES) cells choose between self-renewal, apoptosis, and differentiation into specific lineages. His lab reported the first isolation of ES cell lines from a non-human primate in 1995, work that led to the first successful isolation of human ES cell lines in 1998. Ultimately, the differentiated derivatives of human ES cells could have important applications in transplantation medicine, and rhesus monkey and rhesus ES cells will provide an essential model for developing novel ES cell-based therapies.

Harold Varmus is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. A former Director of the National Institutes of Health and co-recipient of a Nobel Prize for studies of the genetic basis of cancer, Dr. Varmus' scientific work with J. Michael Bishop demonstrated the cellular origins of the oncogene of a chicken retrovirus. This discovery led to the isolation of many cellular genes that normally control growth and development and are frequently mutated in human cancer. Varmus is also widely recognized for his studies of the replication cycles of retroviruses and hepatitis 8 viruses, the functions of genes implicated in cancer, and the development of mouse models for human cancer.

Hynek Wichterle is a postdoctoral researcher working with Thomas Jessell at Columbia University. His work focuses on experiments in embryonic stem cell-derived motor neurons as a first step in potential treatments for such neurogenerative disorders as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Owen Witte is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at UCLA where he holds the President's Chair in Developmental Immunology. Dr. Witte’s research interests include cell growth regulation and differentiation of hematopoietic cells, the function of oncogenes found in certain human leukemias, and the human immunodeficiency disease called X-linked agammaglobulinemia. His laboratory discovered the gene defect in XLA, a specific tyrosine kinase, and is now studying its mode of action.

Moderators and Panelists

Paul Berg is Director Emeritus of the Beckman Center and Cahill Professor Emeritus in Biochemistry at Stanford University. Among his many outstanding honors and awards is the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1980 for Dr. Berg's fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids with particular regard to recombinant DNA.

Margaret Fuller chairs the department of developmental biology at Stanford University. Her research concerns the mechanisms that regulate stem cell behavior. Many highly differentiated but short-lived cell-types, including blood, skin, and sperm, are produced throughout adult life from stem cells. The central characteristic of stem cells is their remarkable, long-term capacity to divide as relatively undifferentiated precursors while also producing daughter cells that initiate differentiation. Understanding the mechanisms that regulate stem cell specification and the choice between stem cell self-renewal and differentiation is crucial for realizing the potential of stem cells for regenerative medicine.

Theo Palmer is on the department of neurosurgery faculty at Stanford University where he studies stem cell biology and cell transplantation for the treatment of central nervous system injury and cancer. His major focus is on neural precursor cells, the production of new neurons, local cues that regulate precursor activity, and how this information is used to recruit cells for CNS repair or interrupt precursor signaling once it has gone awry in malignant growth.

Lucy Shapiro is Director of the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine and the Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research in the department of developmental biology at Stanford University. Her research involves studying the mechanisms used to generate the three-dimensional organization of a cell from a one-dimensional genetic code using both molecular genetics and biochemistry. Using the model cell of the differentiating bacterium, Caulobacter crescentus, and full genome sequence and microarray technology, her research seeks to define the complete genetic circuitry that coordinates cell differentiation as a function of the cell cycle.

Judith Shizuru is an investigator at Stanford University whose research focus is to understand the cellular and molecular basis of resistance to engraftment of transplanted allogeneic bone marrow BM cells and to understand the way in which BM grafts modify immune responses. Her research complements her interest in clinical BM transplantation, studies of which are aimed at solving some of the major problems of BM transplantation, including graft-vs-host disease and BM engraftment failure.

Event Directors

Seung Kim leads a laboratory at Stanford University in the department of developmental biology that studies the development and function of the pancreas. His laboratory seeks to understand the mechanisms that govern pancreatic growth, cell differentiation, and physiologic function, particularly those that regulate development of insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells. His laboratory has identified methods to generate insulin producing tissues from stem cells. This may lead to better therapies for treating diabetes mellitus in humans.

Irving L. Weissman is a Stanford investigator who first isolated the hematopoietic stem cell, the cell type that forms all other blood cells, from mice. Dr. Weissman also identified the hematopoietic stem cell in humans, a discovery which has opened many new avenues for research and treatment of many different kinds of cancers. His research encompasses the phylogeny and developmental biology of the cells that make up the blood-forming and immune systems. The Weissman laboratory also has a small group at Hopkins Marine Station, where they have developed a model organism for laboratory and field study of allorecognition, the invertebrate counterpart of transplantation immunity and how it regulates the passage of stem cells.