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The race to be the 'cell therapy nation' - RI event

This meeting about stem cell technology is organised, not by London Futurists, but by the Royal Institution. I'm sharing info about it, since it is likely to be of interest to many members of this meetup.

Note that, for this event, registration and payment in advance is necessary, via the Royal Institution webpage for the event. Please also note the comments below about "smart dress". This is a venerable institution (founded in March 1799), and the lecture will be given in the same room where Michael Faraday announced many of his ground-breaking findings.

From the event webpage:

Lecturer: Prof Chris Mason

Stem cells have been hailed as the universal panacea with claims of ‘miracle cures' emanating from across the world. Countries with multi-million, and even multi-billion, pound budgets are clamouring to be world-leaders to reap the likely substantial healthcare and economic benefits.

20th century medicine had three therapeutic pillars which mainly manage and control symptoms:

  1. small molecule drugs,
  2. biologics
  3. medical devices.

Today, the 4th and final therapeutic pillar of healthcare, cell therapy, is emerging as a global industry likely to equal (or exceed) the economic successes of big pharma, biotech and medical device companies.

There are approximately 500 cell therapy companies with combined annual revenues currently in excess of a billion pounds spread across Asia, Europe and North America. A million patients have received cell-based therapies and over a 1,000 clinical trials are underway, however, the number of FDA/EMA approved products is still less than 20 - only a tiny fraction of the anticipated potential. Stem cells are great science, however, their legacy will be substantial health and wealth benefits.

Fierce competition to be the 'cell therapy nation' is underway. Multidisciplinary teams clad in lab coats, theatre greens and pinstripe suits, sponsored by public and private funding, working on non-level playing fields are locked in combat. Winning is everything since the consequences will impact every family for many generations.

This discourse will:

  • Focus on stem cell-based therapies and the much broader technology of prescribing living cells to produce transformative treatments that ideally cure, or at the very least, are life-changing
  • Discuss the promise, progress, pitfalls and politics of cell therapy and the intense global competition to be the premier ‘cell therapy nation'.

Tickets: Free to Members, Faraday and Fellows, £10 Associates and £15 guests.

If you haven't been before, you should bear in mind that FEDs (Friday Evening Discourses) are by tradition formal occasions, and while evening dress is not obligatory, it is customary. Smart dress is acceptable.

Make a night of it! Come for a cocktail or something delicious, modern and British to eat in the bar. The bar and café at the Ri has the perfect atmosphere for a night out.

About the lecturer:

Prof Chris Mason is internationally recognized to be at the forefront of the emerging field of stem cell and regenerative medicine translation and commercialization. He holds a Clinical Sciences degree from Imperial College London, a Medical Degree from the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St. Thomas's Hospitals (now King's College London) and a PhD under the supervision of Prof Peter Dunnill in tissue-engineering bioprocessing from University College London.

After graduating, Chris specialised in surgery and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons both of England and in Ireland. Today, after a transition from clinical practice to research, he heads up the Regenerative Medicine Bioprocess Group in the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering at UCL and is on the Steering Committee for the UCL Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine. Other accomplishments include being Senior Editor of ‘Regenerative Medicine' journal, co-founder and co-organiser of the London Regenerative Medicine Network (LRMN) and on the founding Steering Committee for the UK National Stem Cell Network (UKNSCN).

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