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Panel 4: Question and Answer

Stem Cells in Clinical Trials

November 30, 2011
24 minutes
Catriona Jamieson, Nicholas Boulis, Robert Deans, Steven Schwartz


Catriona Jamieson: Dr. Jamieson received her BS.c. in biology (genetics), Ph.D. in microbiology and M.D. from the University of British Columbia. After completing a residency program in internal medicine, she trained at Stanford University Medical Center in bone marrow transplantation and hematology. Dr. Jamieson is both a hematologist-oncologist and stem cell biologist. She became an instructor in hematology at Stanford in 2003, following a post-doctoral stem cell biology research fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Irving L. Weissman. She then joined the UC San Diego faculty of medicine in November 2005. At UC San Diego, Dr. Jamieson has continued to build on her national and international reputation for her translational research on stem cells and cancer, particularly in the area of hematologic malignancies. She was the first recipient of a CIRM grant to derive and characterize cancer stem cells from embryonic stem cells, and has received a number of awards including the Forbeck Scholar Award.

Nicholas Boulis: Dr. Boulis is a physician scientist whose research interests include biological neurorestoration and neuromodulation through the use of cell, protein and gene delivery to the nervous system. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Yale University with distinction in intensive biology and philosophy and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Medical School, winning the Harold Lamport Biomedical Research Award. Dr. Boulis is a neurosurgeon with significant expertise in the field of gene transfer to the nervous system. His Gene and Cell Therapy Translational Laboratory pursues advanced biological treatments for neurological disorders, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Dr. Boulis has developed a clinical program focusing on peripheral nerve regeneration, spasticity, pain and Parkinson’s Disease, applying advanced microsurgical, radiosurgical and ablative and neural augmentation approaches. In 1997, Dr. Boulis founded Project Shunt, gathering donated equipment and organizing a team of relief neurosurgeons to deliver care to patients with congenital hydrocephalus and neural tube defects. Dr. Boulis continues to accompany the team and serves as one of Project Shunt’s neurosurgeons.

Robert Deans: Dr. Deans holds degrees from MIT and the University of Michigan, and conducted his postdoctoral training in molecular immunology at UCLA. He is responsible for regenerative medicine technology development at Athersys, Inc. and its European subsidiary, ReGenesys. Athersys is developing cell therapeutics based on adherent stem cells (MultiStem) isolated from adult bone marrow. Athersys has active Phase I and II clinical development activity in acute myocardial infarct, stroke, ulcerative colitis and for adjunctive therapy of allogeneic bone marrow transplant. Dr. Deans is also chairman of the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) Commercialization Committee and serves on a number of regulatory advisory committees. Dr. Deans has more than 20 years of experience in stem cell therapeutics, having previously served at Osiris Therapeutics as vice president of research. Dr. Deans was previously director of R&D at Baxter Healthcare, where he developed biological components of the Isolex300i hematopoietic stem cell purification platform. In addition, Dr. Deans served on the faculty at University of Southern California (USC) Medical School from 1984 to 1992.

Steven Schwartz: Dr. Schwartz’ primary areas of research include early diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), diabetic eye disease, and macular degeneration. Additionally, his focus includes development and evaluation of novel medical device technologies, imaging technologies, surgical equipment (including surgical robots) and drug delivery systems, with particular emphasis on diagnostic and treatment applications. Dr. Schwartz’ clinical research focuses on trials of novel pharmacotherapeutic agents to discover treatments for both wet and dry age-related macular degeneration, ROP and diabetic retinopathy. This year, Dr. Schwartz led two new clinical trials testing the use of stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells to address vision loss in people suffering from Stargardt’s macular dystrophy and dry age-related macular degeneration.