Skip to comments.Vatican launches stem cell venture with US company
Posted on 06/16/2011 12:35:55 PM PDT by NYer
.- The Vatican has signed its first ever commercial agreement with an outside company. The contract with U.S.-based bio-pharmaceutical firm NeoStem will advance ethical research into stem cells.
We would like to create a hotspot for scientists, benefactors, academics (and) Church leaders that will now join this group and would work together for the benefit of humanity,Fr. Tomaz Trafny of the Vaticans Council for Culture told CNA June 16.
The deal was announced before the global media in Rome this morning.
We are a public company pioneering new medical research with adult stem cells, explained Doctor Robin Smith, the CEO of NeoStem.
This research has the potential to alleviate human suffering by unlocking the healing power of the human body. Most importantly, we are able to do all this without destroying another human life, she said.
Stem cells are the bodys master cells. From them all of the bodys 200-plus types of tissue ultimately grow. Their incredible versatility means they have the potential to provide replacement tissue to treat all manner of disorders.
Thanks to some amazing technological advances, we are learning that part of the solution to these diseases and many others, may already be present in our bodies, said Dr. Smith.
Each human being has his or her own cellular fingerprint. Each one of us has cells with regenerative powers. These are our stem cells.
The Catholic Church approves of stem cell research but disapproves of those cells being drawn from human embryosa process that involves their destruction. The Church does approve of stem cells taken from adults or from the placenta or umbilical cord at birth.
No embryos are destroyed to collect adult stem cells, explained Dr. Smith.
In other words, we do not have to destroy human life to improve and extend human life for those who are struggling with debilitating diseases.
NeoStem has pioneered adult stem cell research throughout their five years of existence. The company says that its advances are proving both ethical and very successful.
There are no current therapies using embryonic stem cells today but there are over 70 treatments available using adult stem cells including anemia, leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, Dr. Smith told CNA in a later interview.
The relationship between the Vatican and NeoStem will involve three areas of cooperation.
The first venue for the venture will entail work on research, including issues of funding. The second avenue of cooperation will involve the study of the cultural consequences of regenerative medicine, beginning with a major conference in Rome later this year. And the final area of collaboration will involve educating people particularly those within the Church about the practicalities and ethics of this new field of medical research.
It is clear that our collaboration is open to other institutions sharing the same values, said Fr. Trafny.
We are open to all the possible paths of collaboration with several institutions, single researchers and philanthropists who want to share these initiatives that we hope would have a global impact.
The planned conference, entitled Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture will take place in November 2011 at the Vatican.
The Pontifical Council for Culture and NeoStem Announce Steps Forward in their Partnership to Advance Adult Stem Cell Research Jun 16 2011
VATICAN CITY -- NeoStem, Inc. ("NeoStem" or the "Company") (NYSE Amex: NBS), an international biopharmaceutical company with product and service revenues, global research and development capabilities and operations in three distinct business units – U.S. adult stem cells, China adult stem cells, and China pharmaceuticals, and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, today announced steps forward in their partnership designed to advance adult stem cell research.
In a press conference at the Vatican, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Dr. Robin L. Smith, Chairman and CEO of NeoStem, and Reverend Tomasz Trafny, Head of the Science and Faith Department at the Pontifical Council for Culture, provided further details on both their ongoing partnership and on a groundbreaking event, the international Vatican conference on adult stem cells, scheduled for November 9 – 11, 2011 at the Vatican.
The partners' charitable organizations that will drive activity are NeoStem's Stem for Life Foundation, and the Pontifical Council's Foundation, called STOQ International (Science Theology and the Ontological Quest).
The joint mission of the partnership, with the complete support of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers and the Pontifical Academy for Life, will be to:
The November conference will include the foremost experts in adult stem cell research and recognized leaders in medicine, but, unlike a research-focused conference, attendees will include Church and scientific leaders, policymakers, ethicists, educators, Ministers of Health from around the world, ambassadors to the Holy See, and representatives of the stem cell therapeutic business community to foster a multidisciplinary approach to advance science as there are ethical, spiritual societal, religious and cultural impacts with every discovery creating the potential to influence many people worldwide.
Through keynote speakers, panel discussions, patient case studies, video, and breakout sessions, the conference will create greater awareness of adult stem cells and their applications, explore the latest research and developments in the field, and discuss and debate the implications for the future of culture, medicine, religion, and public policy. The event will reach an even wider audience than its 350 invited guests through radio and television broadcast. The event is detailed at a newly launched website, www.adultstemcellconference.org.
NeoStem's Chairman and CEO, Robin Smith said, "Today we are making history. I am here with you today because of an historic collaboration between the Vatican and NeoStem which is already underway, and also to tell you about our upcoming event in November to further these efforts. We believe Adult Stem Cells will be the answer to so many debilitating problems impacting people all over the world, of all ages, in all walks of life. We look forward to working together with Father Trafny, Cardinal Ravasi and other Church leaders to be able to demonstrate that faith and technology can work together to find ethical solutions to human kind's most ancient problems."
Reverend Tomasz Trafny added, "The unique collaboration with NeoStem must focus on two considerations. The first one is related to the sharing of the same sensitivity for ethical values that has at its center the protection of human life at all stages of its existence. The second concerns investigation on cultural consequences that will be caused by scientific discoveries in the field of adult stem cell research and adult stem cell applications in regenerative medicine. For these reasons, we've entered into a long term formal agreement with NeoStem and are working together tracing paths of further developments, activities and additional collaborations."
The partnering organizations are actively raising funds for the initiative and announced that individuals who are interested in supporting their mission may donate through the newly redesigned Stem for Life Foundation website at www.stemforlifefoundation.com.
About NeoStem, Inc.
NeoStem, Inc. is engaged in the development and manufacturing of cell-based therapies in the U.S. Its January 2011 acquisition of Progenitor Cell Therapy, LLC ("PCT") is central to the Company's strategic mission of capturing the paradigm shift to cell therapy. The acquisition of PCT gives NeoStem not only access to a world class contract manufacturing cell therapy company but provides a platform and expertise around the evaluation, development and regulatory requirements to develop autologous, allogeneic, immunomodulatory and vaccine-based therapeutics. NeoStem also holds the worldwide exclusive license to VSEL(TM) Technology, which uses very small embryonic-like stem cells, shown to have several physical characteristics that are generally found in embryonic stem cells, and is pursuing the licensing of other technologies for therapeutic use. NeoStem owns 80% of Athelos Corporation, a company developing a T-cell therapeutic with potential in a range of auto-immune conditions such as graft versus host disease, asthma and diabetes. Furthermore, NeoStem is building its Chinese presence by establishing an operations lab for cell-based manufacturing in Beijing as well as commercializing cellular therapies in China through the establishment of a network of hospitals. NeoStem also owns a majority-interest in Suzhou Erye Pharmaceutical Company Limited, a world class manufacturing and distribution operation of generic antibiotics in China.
For more information, please visit: www.neostem.com.
About the Pontifical Council for Culture
The Pontifical Council for Culture is that Dicastery of the Roman Curia which assists the Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the benefit and service of the universal Church and of particular Churches concerning the encounter between the saving message of the Gospel and cultures, in the study of the weighty phenomena of the rift between the Gospel and cultures; indifference in matters of religion; unbelief. It is also concerned with relationships between the Church and the Holy See and the world of culture; in particular it promotes dialogue with contemporary cultures, so that human civilization may become increasingly open to the Gospel, and so that men and women of science, letters and the arts may know that the Church acknowledges their work as a service to truth, goodness and beauty.
Among different tasks that have been given to the Pontifical Council for Culture, some are related to the collaboration with different cultural and scientific institutions. Those tasks are the following:
- To co-operate with Catholic universities and international organisations of a historical, philosophical, theological, scientific, artistic or intellectual nature, and to promote co-operation amongst them (John Paul II, Personal Letter to the Cardinal Secretary of State, 20 May 1982 concerns foundation of the Pontifical Council for Culture).
- To keep up with the activities of international bodies like UNESCO and the Council of Europe, which are concerned with culture, the philosophy of science and human sciences, and to ensure the effective participation of the Holy See in international congresses concerned with science, culture and education (Cf. ibid.).
- To facilitate Church-culture dialogue at the level of universities and research centres, organisations of artists and specialists, researchers and scholars, and to promote meetings of note in and through these sectors of culture (Cf. ibid.).
About the Stem for Life Foundation
The non-partisan Stem For Life Foundation ("SFLF"), a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, was established to increase public education in all areas of Adult Stem Cell research and application. Its goals are to encourage and support the field of research involving Adult Stem Cells and to provide medicine's most vulnerable populations with access to key technologies. SFLF's key activities are education, clinical research support and bio-insurance for first responders and military personnel.
Through working with Science, Theology and Ontological Quest (STOQ) International, SFLF will direct an educational campaign designed to increase understanding of the cultural applicability of emerging technologies and establish new theological, philosophical and bioethical education programs.
SFLF is dedicated to helping advance the science of Adult Stem Cell research. Through fundraising activities, SFLF will provide financial support to vital clinical trials on the brink of groundbreaking discoveries.
SFLF believes that banking cells for autologous use is a vital form of bio-insurance that must be provided to first responders and the military. SFLF is developing community-based programs to raise the funds needed for local first responders and military to have their Adult Stem Cells extracted and stored for a ten-year period. By doing so, we will be "protecting those who protect us."
To learn more about SFLF please visit: www.stemforlifefoundation.com.
About STOQ International
STOQ International is a non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization operating in the U.S. for the purpose of creating important dialogue between the Church and contemporary culture, which is strongly shaped by scientific advancements.
We change the debate in the arena of ideas related to Theology, Philosophy and present-day Science. We support and encourage scientific research, educational programs and cultural initiatives. The alliance of experts from the disciplines of science, theology and philosophy that form the STOQ Project provokes a renewal of thinking about God and man, creation and providence. We challenge the public perception of the relationship between the Church tradition and science, and we prove the compatibility of faith and reason in the pursuit of knowledge.
The purpose of STOQ is to endorse and conduct an interdisciplinary dialogue in order to build a culture that promotes the full dignity of humanity. Our mission is to build a bridge between science and theology and provide for their positive impact on contemporary society.
We conduct studies through joint research projects, conferences and educational & cultural enterprises. We continually inform the public, through the leaders, opinion makers, publications and public relations & media resources, that the STOQ Network embraces many institutions worldwide receptive to their ideas.
To know more about STOQ, please visit: www.stoqinternational.org
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements reflect management's current expectations, as of the date of this press release, and involve certain risks and uncertainties. Forward looking statements include statements herein with respect to the successful execution of the Company's strategy, about which no assurances can be given. The Company's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward- looking statements as a result of various factors. Factors that could cause future results to materially differ from the recent results or those projected in forward-looking statements include the "Risk Factors" described in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 6, 2011, as well as other periodic filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company's further development is highly dependent on future medical and research developments and market acceptance, which is outside its control.
For more information, please contact:
Good move, I think. Especially the ethical education part. Even now, so many people are utterly clueless about this. I hope they attract many partners, covring a wide spectrum of faith-related, science-related, investment-related organizations.
What do you think .... good enough to invest in this firm? Certainly worth following their stock. It’s NBS on the ASE.
I have a bioinformatics background and would be inspired to work for such an effort. It appears they currently only have 2 locations, New York City and Suzhou City in China. Hope they create other work sites or other collaborations happen.
Don’t got the money, honey!
For a Pope who was expected to be sort of a place-holder, due to his age, he is certainly stepping out into new territory with this stem cell business deal.
I don’t understand medical stuff too much — how can they do stem-cell research without the foetuses? Again — I don’t know anything about medical stuff!
Sounds like an exciting venture!
They can come from a variety of non fetal sources; adult organ tissue, amniotic fluid, cord blood, etc.